I love alternative history novels (including my own). I particularly like this one, which as Douglas Adams once wrote, is only a molecule or two perspective’s from “normality.”
THE EYRE AFFAIR is set in an alternative 1985, with England and Russia still embroiled in the Crimean War after more than a century, an independent very socialist Wales behind an Iron Curtain, and actual literature what inspires society more than wealth, celebrity or sport.
It’s hard to categorize this book: it is AltHistory, romance, satire, police procedural, fantasy, mystery, thriller and SF all in one.
Even better, it is a first novel that is very solid.
I loved the series the first time I read it, and time is only confirming that opinon.
Harris’ FATHERLAND, set in historical Nazi Germany, was a tour de force of Alternative History. Thank God, then, that Harris now returns to Germany-in-the-past, this time to offer a book of “faction” focusing on British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain’s calamitous journey to Munich to appease Hitler and hand over the Czech Sudetenland to the Nazis.
How else could we know the colour of the draperies in each of the rooms the ostensible “protagonist” carries two red boxes from room to room throughout the book, for nothing else new of historical significance nor literary merit is otherwise added.
Mm, mm, good! A spy thriller in the best tradition of Le Carre and Steinhauer. The tension and plot is almost entirely psychological, with multiple layers of deceit and lying among the characters. There is very little violence and weapons appear only rarely, but the pace and tension crackles.
Lee Child’s Reacher novels are masterpieces of character, pace, plot and location. His short stories, other than the ones featuring an adolescent Reacher, are not, full of character inconsistencies and plot holes. I WOULD like to see a full-length Reacher adolescent novel, however.
Unlike other popular genre writers so prolific that their output (and quality!) could only be attributed to sweat shops of child writers in Bangladesh or Indonesia, Scottoline actually writes a realistic thriller that has characters we care about. Not a note out of tune.