La forêt d'Iscambe
- Christian Charrière
"The forest of Iscambe" is a french novel, not translated as far as I know. It's a post-apocaliptical story, situated in a France after a major planetary disaster happened, most likely technology went wrong.
But it's not your traditional Mad-Max-like fare. Of course, many elements of "post-apo" stories are here, like the return to minimal technology, resurgence of ancient beliefs and survival in agricultural communities. But not only. First, France doesn't sem to have been equally impacted by the disaster, and a city like Marseille remained fairly untouched, with access to electricity, fireamrs and a structured government (unfortunately, a very stalinian one).
Second, that forest, Iscambe, is very mysterious and lots of creatures and beings live there. The forest seems to originate in Paris, but humans seldom enter the woods because very few come back alive...
So, the story starts in a thriving little agricultural valley, where a leader came from outside and succeeded in unifying people and changing them from a hunters/gatherers community to a structured, strong agricultural society. Ist'van is a young, strong member of that community, but unlike the other village members, he doesn't seems too afraid of the forest.
Everything is going well, until the day two men, The Founder and his apprentice Evariste, arrive in the village from Marseille, in quest for help to go to Paris. The Founder is an old friend of the village leader, who is also from Marseille, but both men have chosen a very different path in life. Plus, somebody might be following the Founder and Evariste...
La forêt d'Iscambe is, on many points, a very mystical and philosophical story, a story of a new world, a story of inner change, a story of war, violence and love. It's a good story, really interesting, even if, to be honest, sometimes the mystical part takes a bit too much place.
But if you can read French (or if it has been translated), it's worth a try!
So far in 2020: https://www.gog.com/forum/general/books_finished_in_2020/post9