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Next up for my read of BSFA nominations, this is an intricate juxtaposition of narrative segments set in different worlds and time streams, a lot of which draws from Priest's own earlier work. Several chapters are set in a near-future Islamic Republic of Great Britain, rather reminiscent of the Darkening Island of his first book; we revisit the archipelago of The Islanders; and magicians and twins and alternate Second World Wars pop up too.

It didn't quite come off for me. There are a lot of good ideas here, but the Islamic Republic is a bad one; and I had hoped for some actual plot resolution at the end, rather than juyst being expected to admire the pretty pattern of the bits of story put next too each other. (Oddly enough, The Islanders, on its face a more discontinuous text, worked better in that regard.) So I fear that my vote will put it at the end of what is a very good shortlist.


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 8th, 2014 10:38 pm (UTC)
Islamic Republic of Great Britain?

Didn't see any mention of this in any other reviews of the book. Is this full-on Dan Simmons-style Islamophobic paranoia, a satire on such, or seemingly written in ignorance of how explosive the concept is?
Mar. 9th, 2014 11:35 am (UTC)
It's not a conscious satire; I think the last option is closest to the truth, though Priest very often brings a depressed inward-looking sort of sullenness to his settings and the IRGB certainly has that. The authorities are oppressive but not especially efficient, and anyway the country (like humanity as a whole) appears to be under attack from Mysterious Forces.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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