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It's called the Broken Road. A long-abandoned route veiled in rumor, only spoken of in whispers. Some claim that bandits stalk its overgrown path, while others speak of a city of cannibals. Stories tell of dark apparitions, bizarre monsters, and ancient evils. One thing is certain: no one goes near it.

Caravan Master Waldo Bell has had his fill of trouble. But when faced with a stubborn client, a lousy deal demanding delivery on any terms, and military action that closes major caravan routes, Wal and his company find themselves forced on to that vast stretch of trail.

While strange events plague the caravan, Wal must confront the horrors of his recent past, as he's thrown into the middle of a deadly conflict that feels far-too-familiar. On this road, chaos awaits...

356 pages, Paperback

First published October 1, 2014

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About the author

K.M. Alexander

4 books175 followers
K. M. Alexander is a Pacific Northwest native and novelist living and working in Seattle with his wife and dog. His work explores nontraditional settings within speculative fiction, bending and blending genres to create rich worlds and unique, approachable characters.

Follow his exploits at blog.kmalexander.com.

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5 stars
68 (52%)
4 stars
44 (34%)
3 stars
16 (12%)
2 stars
1 (<1%)
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 32 reviews
Profile Image for Justin Pitcher.
2 reviews1 follower
October 27, 2014
A great sequel!
Waldo Bell is back in a follow-up to The Stars Were Right. A blend of western, post-apocalyptic fantasy, mystery and Lovecraft has Waldo leading his caravans and client into the wilderness of the post-Aligning world.

The dynamic is different this time, as Waldo can (and must) rely on the support of his crew. We get to see new sides to characters (both new and old) and learn more about the cities and territories that surround Lovat.

The dread will weigh heavily on you as you flip each page. But you won’t want to stop.
Profile Image for Steve Leroux.
5 reviews20 followers
November 10, 2014
A smoldering delight! Alexander continues to impress me with his skill as a world-builder and story-teller. He keeps the story on a slow burn, never letting things get out of hand while never letting the reader off the hook. His hero is honestly flawed, the supporting cast honestly unforgiving. I'm very much looking forward to Alexander's next book.
Profile Image for Raedia.
80 reviews3 followers
November 4, 2014
I enjoyed this follow up to The Stars Were Right immensely! It was great to be back with Wal, Wensem, Sam and the crew, and introduced to some new characters as well. The strange journey across the Broken Road really put me in mind of some of my favorite Dark Tower novels... I found myself pretty well creeped out at times!
Profile Image for Sabih Mir.
4 reviews4 followers
October 27, 2014
A fantastic follow-up to his debut, Alexander brings us back to the detailed, dusty world he built-up in The Stars Were Right. The returning characters are fleshed out, and have to deal with the lingering effects of the events in the first book. New characters, new landscapes, and new horrors make Old Broken Road a worthy effort, and expand on the universe Wal, Wensem, and their crew inhabit. Loved every moment of it.
1 review1 follower
November 20, 2014
K. M. Alexander’s books have introduced me to weird fiction and now I can’t get enough! In The Stars Were Right we saw Waldo Bell careening around the mythical, multi-leveled city of Lovat, avoiding all manner of pursuers while trying to clear his name. Old Broken Road follows Bell Caravans as they take on a new job that gets them out of the city and back into their element. As you can probably guess things don’t really end up going as planned and Waldo again finds himself at odds with shadowy figures and ancient evils that just will not let him be.

It’s a fantastic read and I would recommend it to anyone who is a fan of rich characters, suspenseful writing, and creative world building.
Profile Image for Maris.
373 reviews6 followers
March 9, 2015
So you know when you have a few weeks of unemployment to kill so you decide to just sit down and marathon your way through the Harry Potter books, which you haven't touched since the second book came out during your surly teenagerhood when you were (finally) too cool for fantasy? And then on day 2 of the HP marathon, you're like, huh, this second HP book is pretty good, and then by day 3/book 3 you're like, holy shit J.K., check out those mad writing skillz you're acquiring, this shit's rad! And then by day 5/book 5, you're fully invested in every character's emotional wellbeing because, honestly, your imaginary fiction social life is much more rewarding than any real social life you pretend to have?

Well, Mr. KMA pretty much achieved HP book 5 levels by BFC book 2.
Profile Image for Kari-lise Alexander.
2 reviews2 followers
January 23, 2015
This is such a great adventure and at a bit times scary (in a good way) squeal to the Stars Were Right. It's awesome seeing Wal in his element with the familiar faces I fell in love with in the first book. There are also new characters traveling with Wal that add a lot to the story, as he heads down the old broken road. Like in the last book, the world building is amazing. You get a great sense of your surroundings that make you feel that you're one of the "roaders" in the book. I think that's what make the scary parts that much more scary, because you feel like you're right in the middle of it! I can't wait for the next book in the Bell Forging Cycle!
Profile Image for K.
60 reviews1 follower
December 19, 2014
In this thrilling follow up to Alexander's first novel, The Stars Were Right, Bell Caravans is on a new a journey - The Old Broken Road. I loved reading this, and the storyline kept me on the edge of my seat, excited to see what would happen next. It was a wonderful book, and I look forward to reading more of Bell's adventures!
Profile Image for Drew Gerken.
7 reviews2 followers
May 19, 2017
The second book in The Bell Forging Cycle is an excellent continuation of Waldo Bell's story and the ever-ominous Territories. This is the author's second independently published book and I am here to tell you that his writing continues to get better (from already great). Whenever I read one of these books, I am instantly filled with the gritty, gloomy feeling of foreboding. Waldo and his caravan are forced into a journey that is altogether maddening, when helps the reader appreciate the broken yet stoic nature of the central protagonist.

If you've read The Stars Were Right, there's absolutely no reason not to read this book. It is just as suspenseful and better written that then first in the cycle. If you haven't read The Stars Were Right, this book does serve as a standalone, but there are references to the events of the first book. If your reading wheelhouse is fantasy, urban fantasy, horror, weird fiction, suspense, or anything Lovecraftian then you owe it to yourself to read this book. It isn't a perfectly written book, but very few are. Despite that, it is engaging from the very beginning and elicits some very intense imagery (and potentially nightmares).
Profile Image for J. Rushing.
Author 1 book17 followers
April 14, 2017
I loved "The Stars were Right" and wanted more. I got it and then some. Oh, and don't worry, if you haven't read the first book in this series, you wont be lost. "Old Broken Road" does a great job of catching you up and it truly is a stand alone story despite also being a sequel. The world building is really top notch. There are plenty of tie ins to remind you that your firmly in the world created in "The Stars were Right" but "Old Broken Road" reveals an entirely new part of this world rather than more of the same. It's like leveling up in a video game and having a new part of the map revealed.

It was really nice to see some new faces in this story. Of course there are old favorites as well. The story line is nice and dark and the drama is intense. I definitely think you need to crack this baby open... or you know, press the appropriate button your e-reader. That's what I do.
2 reviews1 follower
December 3, 2014
To share the road with Waldo Bell is to feel the push and pull of it. There are invisible currents at work here, and if you dig your heels in, you may find yourself bowed by forces larger than yourself. Or, do as the roaders do, and let yourself be swept along to the edge of the map, where uneasy cartographers turned back and wrote 'Here There Be Monsters'. This may be the story of the Old Broken Road, of hard-baked dust and sharp-edged stone, but it will put you in mind of rapids and riptides. Of logjams and eddies. And if our caravan master can navigate the treacherous trail to its terminus, can bear the jolts and rattles, the wearying struggle for breath, the impossible shapes looming in the spindrift - where will he find himself at journeys end? What shape of man will be made from the gritty meeting of mortal and maelstrom? Read to find out. Read, if you have the nerve.
Profile Image for Dwayne Clare.
3 reviews3 followers
December 8, 2014
Well paced and lushly described, Old Broken Road gives us a deeper view into the lives of Waldo Bell and his companions. Waldo is a reluctant hero, seemingly singled out by supernatural forces, who have aptly named him, "The Guardian". Driven by his own demons and unwilling to turn back Waldo guides his rapidly diminishing caravan down the forsaken road with one goal on his mind, to bring his companions home with their skin still attached.

2 reviews
December 3, 2014
This sequel brings back the characters you fell in love with reading The Stars Were Right. Even though you may secretly wish Wal would settle down with some street food and live a simple life, he's one of those guys who can't sit still. He's taken on a new job that delivers up more than he bargained for. This new adventure opens up parts of the world that you wish your beloved characters would never have to see. But they do, and you're along for the ride.
Profile Image for Stef.
50 reviews7 followers
July 16, 2015
won on goodreads giveaway

wow! great characters, great writing style. As a fan of H.P.Lovecraft this book hit the spot. I would recommend this book to fans of horror and Lovecraft, it was amazing.
Profile Image for Erica.
119 reviews20 followers
May 11, 2015
Since I couldn't finish reading this, I don't think it's fair to leave a rating. In a nutshell, the writing style is not for me.
Profile Image for Marc.
31 reviews
April 14, 2020
My initial thought was to give this book a solid three stars for effort. However, upon further thought, I think it deserves four stars.

The questions it raises, and never answers, is perfectly Lovecraftian. We are simply not supposed to have all the answers in what we are dealing with. Forests of crucifixion, leathery wings, tentacles, misshapen eyes and faces - it's all par for the course, delivered around a tale of trying to deliver cargo.

I thoroughly enjoy Waldo's first person musings. He is an interesting character to see through the eyes of. Having only read the first two, I certainly hope he patches things up with Sam. He certainly deserves a little bit of happiness and consistency in his life. The tertiary characters, for the most part, also feel independent and well-written.

I liked the actual Old Broken Road itself. I wish we got to experience more of it leading up to Methow/the big set up. It felt somewhat glossed over. The parts that were written conveyed a very permeating sense of gloom and doom. Loved it. Also, the caravaneering itself did not go as expected - a fact I greatly appreciated. It was fresh and "off-the-beaten path," if I can indulge myself in a pun.

The Forest of the Dead/Methow sections were good reads. I felt that the sheriff was under-explored in many ways - as a character, and as the red herring. When his body, rather head, is finally come upon, it just seems like we are checking off the mystery of what happened to him. "BLAM!" And that's all she wrote. I similarly felt that Margaret Shaler was underutilized, outside of her being an overt facilitator of driving the early plot forward.

One thing I happened to notice was the inordinate amount of typos and grammatical mistakes found in the book. As I appreciate most authors' hard work, and more importantly, have almost no knowledge of how book editing works, I am going to assume this is NOT the work of the author, and assume they were reprinting/editing errors. I didn't deduct any points from this review for them, but c'mon, editing company. "Margret?" Few things take me out of a book more than grammar and/or vocabulary errors.

One small plus for the editors/company - I really liked the solid covers they create for the Bell Forging Cycle. They are strong covers. They feel good to the touch, and don't warp or start to flip open with continued use. (I don't even know if this is something the editors should take credit for - this just lays further credence to my ignorance in book publishing/editing.)

I look forward to reading Red Litten World soon.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Jason Vanhee.
Author 12 books23 followers
May 5, 2017
While the previous book had echoes of Blade Runner and noir, this one leaves the city of Lovat behind and instead is has more of a sword and sorcery feel. I mean, it's guns instead of swords, and there's precious little sorcery, but there's a good bit of Robert E. Howard or even Fritz Leiber in Old Broken Road. I'd lean toward Leiber but will give the nod to Howard instead because there's a bunch of Lovecraft references and Howard had those in spades. The novel really takes off once we catch up with the prologue and things get brutal and nasty, and if the ending is a bit rushed for me, that's not a huge problem.
August 6, 2022
Certainly a different pace than the first book in this trilogy, but still enjoyable. At first I was frustrated with the decision's the protagonist Waldo Emerson Bell was making in this book but K.M. Alexander did an excellent job of showing how Bell was still traumatized from the events of the previous book and hadn't begun to heal either physically or emotionally from that trauma
Profile Image for Nikki.
293 reviews
March 1, 2018
Another adventurous tale of Waldo the Caravan Master. Not as clever as the first, but still enjoyable.
Profile Image for Carlene Cayenne.
307 reviews
April 26, 2020
I’m not one for horror books and I don’t think I would classify this as a traditional horror book but it’s really got some good dark parts in it. the whole book actually is quite good it’s the second book in the series and I think the author only has written three books of the series I don’t know if he’s written any others books.

I like how the character works out each personality and how they meld together and the story itself was really well written. I’ve got the last book and I’m eager to read it so sometimes I have to be in the mood for these types of books.

I would definitely recommend this author to others.
Profile Image for David.
406 reviews1 follower
March 6, 2017
Another great read in an excellent series.
5 reviews
February 7, 2016
I'm told that the world in which Bell Caravans exists (Bell Caravans is the company at the center of The Stars Were Right and of this book, its sequel), is related to the fiction of HP Lovecraft. I've never been a Lovecraft fan. I've certainly read my share of pulp fiction, but despite my efforts at trying to understand why he had so many devoted fans, his stories never really appealed to me. But I do have a weakness for well crafted fantasy stories. I've read much of the fantasy canon -- the GRRM books, Patrick Ruthfuss, a fair number of Robin Hobb's bizarre and compelling concoctions, books by Brandon Sanderson, Patricia McKillip, Guy Gavriel Kay, Stephen R. Donaldson and many others. I dreamed in Tolkien for a few years. I've played my share of D&D and MtG.

This is something else. The world feels utterly fresh, the 'hero' is an original take on a fantasy protagonist who manages to avoid most of the old tropes of heroism while delivering the one key ingredient that makes a fantasy world feel like it's actually worth saving: decency. He's a good guy who works hard to maintain that decency against both his own natural inclinations and the 'evil' that roams the world. But not in a 'Rick-from-Walking-Dead-just-avoiding-cannibalism-is-an-heroic-triumph' kind'a way; more in a 'how-do-I-prevent-my-neuroses-from-aligning-me-with-the-devil' kind'a way. Waldo, the protagonist in the series, is heroic at least in part because he's not heroic. There are things in his world that he thinks are worth fighting for, and he has to make, and re-make and continue to make the decision to fight for them. But he does it on a quiet, personal level. The cymbals and klaxons may be sounding, but these story lines are more interested in the mundane bedrock those instruments are set upon. Waldo applies authentic, recognizable grit in his struggle for decency. Like Samwise Gamgee does.

KM Alexander successfully brings that struggle to life by creating an enormous, weird and wonderful fantasy world that seems to demand such a struggle all the way down to the molecular level. Everything about the crazy, wacked-out universe of Stars and Old Broken Road seems to encourage collaboration with the forces of entropic decay (or at least energetic destruction). But Waldo has friends and loyalties and self-respect. And he's going to assert the importance of those things as an alternate vision of how to get along in that crazy world, even in the face of an existential shit-storm of bad.

The level of craft on display in this book is also a pleasure in its own right. There are many different ways to write fantasy well, and KM Alexander is hitting on all cylinders. His work is rich, complex and satisfying: pulp fiction for the modern reader.

While this book stands on its own, I'd recommend starting with The Stars Were Right. The world KM Alexander is creating is large, richly detailed and worth getting to know. Stars is a good read, and knowing the back story will make this one that much more fun.

Finally -- the paper version of this book showcases the beautiful book design of this series. It's a truly lovely piece of work, and for the right person both of these books would make brilliant holiday gifts.
Profile Image for Joel Flank.
323 reviews4 followers
March 1, 2016
Alexander returns to the post-Aligning word, and presents another Waldo Bell adventure. In a civilization long recovered from the return of the First Ones of legend, the city of Lovat (built upon the remnants of Seattle) needs its caravans to constantly bring in supplies and food from other territories. Bell Caravans is an up and coming company, and Waldo Bell and friends are bringing several wagons full of apples to fee the hungry millions of Lovat. Unfortunately, tensions between Syringa and Lovat have escalated, and military forces on both sides gather on the border. The normal route on the Big 90 is blocked, and a radical political group has closed the alternate route. Normally, Waldo would wait things out, but his client threatens to ruin him financially if he doesn't complete the contract. The only option is the risk the Broken Road, which has so many tales of hauntings, cannibals, and disappearances, no caravan has risked it in over ten years.

Wary of more mundane dangers such as bandits or patrols from the nearby border with the mysterious nation of Victory, Bell Caravans is unprepared for the increasingly strange and disturbing events that plague them. From the strange robed figures on the horizon that vanish unexpectedly, to members of the caravan leaving without a trace, to the increasingly frequent bellowing noises that persist day and night, the caravan begins to tear itself apart as some cannot handle the stress and danger. Then things truly get horrific.....

Waldo must once again confront things from legend, more horrible than mere human dangers. After his experiences with a First One attempting to return in the current day, Waldo has to decide if he's once again willing to risk it all, his health, his friends, and his very sanity, to try to save the remaining members of his caravan, while struggling with the mysterious title given to him as the Guardian. The creepiness ratchets up every chapter, and the psychological horror is palpable. Looking forward to many more stories of Waldo Bell.
Profile Image for Emily.
15 reviews
May 16, 2015
I really enjoyed this second book in the Bell Forging Cycle. The first book, The Stars Were Right, was a wonderful introduction to the main character, Waldo Bell, and his business associate and friend, Wensem. And as much as I liked the slightly claustrophobic feel of the multi-level city of Lovat, I enjoyed this open road tale even more.

I tend to like a traveling story, where I can follow my characters as they make their way through unfamiliar landscapes, and discover new places and people (and monstrous nightmares!) with them. Old Broken Road totally delivered on that score. I absolutely loved the newly introduced character, Taft. She was just wonderful, and I would very much like to share some whiskey with her.

Man, I'm really looking forward to Red Litten World.
Profile Image for artofstu.
109 reviews
January 1, 2015
Really liked this sequel to The Stars Were Right. In a way, Old Broken Road has a completely different vibe as TSWR, though equally cool. It had the same feel, to me, as The Gunslinger. It's like Lovecraft meets The Road. The strongest thing about this story is the incredible world K.M. Alexander has created, and I especially like that he's expanded from the urban setting in TSWR to a completely different part of that world. At first, I didn't know what I would think about the radical change of venue, but it ends up working really well. I really think K.M. Alexander has a fresh voice that spans a wide range of genre fiction, and I'm looking forward to more from him in the future. I'm especially interested in seeing what new worlds he comes up with.
Profile Image for William Munn.
61 reviews22 followers
October 31, 2015
I finished Old Broken Road a few weeks ago, just in time to read book 3, Red Litten World, when it was released. OBR finds our hero, Waldo Bell, in his element and it is a joy to behold. K. M. has done a fantastic job of bringing this world to life while telling an extremely compelling multi-dimensional story.

You can read this book without reading The Stars Were Right (the first book in the Bell Forging Cycle) and enjoy it, although you should definitely read them both. The stories are quite different, and they are both excellent in their own right.
Profile Image for Rachel.
17 reviews7 followers
February 24, 2015
I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads and it was awesome. It was a great adventure story that I had a hard time putting down, plus I LOVE all my super cool free swag I got. Thanks and keep up the great work you are a amazing author.
Profile Image for Bianca Ruffin.
8 reviews
March 1, 2015
It was an absolute delight reading the second book in this series! Waldo's back in full swing with an intense set of responsibilities.

Most of all, the progression of the story line was impeccable and I look forward to K.M. Alexander's third installment.
Profile Image for Brittany Bintliff.
3 reviews1 follower
January 22, 2015
A delightfully creepy journey into uncharted lands of imagination and dread. Waldo and company are out on a tightrope this time, and the tension is so real your palms will sweat. Flew through it, loved it, ready for the next one.
42 reviews
October 26, 2015
As good as the first.

If the first book in was Lovecraftian noir then this one strikes me as Lovecraftian western. The worldbuilding is strong and the characters compelling. Looking forward to the next book.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 32 reviews

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