on 21 May 2013
Blackwood and Harrington are back. Having decided to go on holiday together (gasp - what would Her Majesty say ?) following their encounter with the Feaster From The Stars, where else would you go but to sunny Atlantis ? Of course, even before they are on the Dirigible, trouble is already afoot in the form of a note from Blackwood's old Archaeology Professor that "something has been found".....
It's a good enough story if somewhat predicatable. I'm not going to post any spoliers, other than to say that This Time, the Faeries have told them that they are on their own, and that Grandfather has had those Jolly Old Boys at Station X deliver them a James Bond Car (A whole 15 (!) Horsepower, that could travel as fast as 100 MPH, with a Maxim that pokes out of the beautifully panelled front).
There was something missing, though. It didn't have me wanting to plough on as I had with the other two in the series and I was a bit disappointed about that. Suspension of disbelief ? Familiarity ? Even given that it *was* Atlantis, it all just felt a little bit routine, almost as if I had read the plotline (and actually seen it in a few films) several times before and the words Blackwood and Harrington were dropped in at the appropriate points. You couldn't say that about the first two in the series.
[A bit of an inconsistency, though: The Preview in the back of "Feaster" seems to be a little inconsistent with the story as portrayed in the actual book. Almost as if Alan Baker had to re-write it a bit ?]
I'd like to see more of Blackwood and Harrington and the tales of the Empire where it looks like the Queen will never set, but where I would happily give the first two novels a five, this one gets a grudging four.
on 15 February 2014
I agree with Ewen McPherson's review. The plot this time is all very well, but not up to the two before. Whilst suspension of disbelief is essential for any fiction, and the previous books in this series have required quite a lot of it, this one requires too much. It involves several marvellous pieces of technology, mostly without even a hand-waving indication of how they work. And the plot depends on some unlikely chances, such as a powerful hand weapon just happening to kill one baddy, so as to save one of the goodies, but missing another baddy, so that he can continue with his evil plans, and then just happening to get lost before it can be used again. And Sophia's interest in psychical research, which is significant in the previous books, is ignored this time.