Joseph Mitchell has crafted a wonderful piece of work with Shard Mountain. Reading this book is like watching a master juggler at work. He keeps dozens of creative balls, artistic daggers and literary chainsaws in the air simultaneously. And drops nary a one.
The story centers around two petty criminals, Charles and Jake, who meet on their bus ride to prison. One is a geek with too many unpaid tickets; the other, a stoner who jaywalked at the absolute worst time. The bus is in an accident with a military convoy and the pair, along with one of their guards, wakes up 571 years later. Mutants, mind reading, and mayhem ensue.
In telling this tale, Mitchell requires his readers to engage all seven senses (and then some) as he describes his version of Earth in the year 2581. The post apocalyptic world that he creates is vivid, lush and full of imaginative wonders. Similar to the world of Dune that Frank Herbert created more than forty years ago, this version of earth is as much a character in this book as any named protagonist.
As for flaws, there weren't many. There were a few typos, but they were easily steamrolled by the tale. Also, this book is longer than most. Not a negative by itself, but there are one or two areas that could be trimmed without hurting the story. Other than those minor items, this book was darn near perfect. One of the best books I have read in a long time. Which is why I am giving it a very solid 5 stars!