Customer Review

4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Stuff!, 7 Aug. 2012
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This review is from: Jack Glass (Golden Age) (Hardcover)
This is most excellent stuff, this triptych of 'locked-room mysteries'. Inspired by both the 'Golden Age of Sci-Fi' and similarly classic whodunits, Adam Roberts has fashioned a Space Opera that satisfies both the imagination and the intellect.

This is one story, with three distinct sections. The first brought to mind not only Mr Roberts' earlier work but also perhaps the 'The Stainless Steel Rat' and maybe even the redoubtable Gully Foyle. Blood and butchery are here, but they play a part in the tale; there is nothing gratuitous about them, unlike, for example, the exploits of Takeshi Kovacs. And, not only do we find the solution to the 'howdunit' (the 'who' is obvious), we also find out why Jack is known as Jack Glass.

The second, longest, section, presents us with another 'locked room mystery' but this is not only different in resolution but also different in kind, more subtle, more devious, more 'psychological' - helping not only to further the story but to build the picture of our eponymous hero. Here, Mr Roberts starts building a world, a complex and believable scenario, with echoes too from his 'By Light Alone', but spanning a Solar System. The writing has Mr Roberts usual slightly 'baroque' style, but is tempered with some sly and clever humour ('Dunronin' indeed!) The thing is, though, under or through all this is a really powerful plot, hanging everything together, building to an excellent dénouement.

There are some wonderful characters - some appearing for far too short a time. The gruesomely horrible Ms Joad, for example, reminded me of Michael Moorcock's Miss Brunner or possibly Philip Pullman's Mrs Coulter while the policeman/bounty hunter Bar-le-duc came straight from a Western. And there is a complex, believable and sustaining society behind it all. In fact, there is, at the back of the book, a glossary and I admit I read that before embarking on the story - and I would recommend doing so. When faced with Gongsi and the Sump, Lex Ulanova and MOHsisters a little preparation enhances the fun.

Yes, there are a number of typos which sometimes makes the reading a little gritty; there may even be the occasional hiatus in the narrative, but nothing to spoil the trajectory of a very fine story. I hope, very much, that we will meet Jack Glass again. All in all, a multi-layered, clever, comic, mind-expanding and thoroughly enjoyable read.
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Tracked by 2 customers

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Showing 1-4 of 4 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 11 Sep 2012 07:53:20 BDT
D. Harris says:
Nice review. It is a good book. (Though I'm still wondering who the man running through the olive grove was.)

I agree that it would be good to see more of Jack Glass!

In reply to an earlier post on 11 Sep 2012 08:42:35 BDT
Diziet says:
Thanks DH. :-)

Now I'm going to have to go back and re-read that scene! :-)

Posted on 17 Oct 2012 03:39:36 BDT
K. Schodrok says:
Great review, the only thing wrong with this book were all the typo's, one would think a big publisher like Gollancz could do better than this. I don't necessarily need to see more of Jack Glass, most of his story has been told, but I would like to see more set in this environment. There must be a billion stories rising out of the Sump.

In reply to an earlier post on 17 Oct 2012 05:40:39 BDT
Diziet says:
I agree about the typos - I thought it was rather surprising too. And I also agree that the Sump could be a great source of stories - as I said, it reminded me of Gully Foyle. :-)
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