Tuesday, 14 August 2007
‘A Kind of Peace’ – Andy Boot (Abaddon Books)
I’ve read a few books from Abaddon and have enjoyed all of them so far. They’re short, sharp slices of gutsy pulp fiction that are good for an hour or two’s read in the garden with a cold beer and can also make a sticky Tube journey a lot more bearable. It was with this in mind that I took Andy Boot’s ‘A Kind of Peace’ to work with me this morning, a nice quick read that I could have finished by the time I got back. While it was a quick read, unfortunately it wasn’t actually that good…
The planet of Inan has only just found peace after five hundred years of war. A world where magic and technology co-exist has realised that Mages aren’t just very old wizards, they’re the ultimate weapons and their use can only result in mutually assured destruction. If this were the case, why would anyone risk an already fragile peace by kidnapping the Mage of Bethel? Simeon 7, the bodyguard, must find out and clear his own name at the same time.
As I’ve said, Abaddon books are known for being fast paced, over the top affairs where the main focus is on action and huge explosions. ‘A Kind of Peace’ takes all these elements and decides that it can do perfectly well without them. What we’re left with is a decent story that pretty much collapses under the interminable slowness of it’s own pace. If a book is going to be under 300 pages long then it needs to know what it’s about and get on with the job in hand. Boot concentrates on giving the reader loads of background history and when I looked at what was supposed to be happening in the story my first thought was, ‘there isn’t enough time for this, things are meant to be happening right now!’ The uneven bias towards exposition leaves us with little room to get to know any of the characters and we’re left with a bunch of people who look like they’ve been given one distinctive characteristic each and left to get on with it. While the mixture of technology and magic is always an interesting concept, it sometimes looks as if not enough attention has been paid to what this actually means for the inhabitants of Inan. If you were looking for an escaped convict in an academy of magic but couldn’t find him, you’d probably assume that magic was being used to hide him wouldn’t you? Well, you might but it certainly doesn’t occur to the Inan security forces that are carrying out the search…
For me, this was a story with potential that could have been so much more. Give this one a miss and pick up one of the ‘Tomes of the Dead’ or ‘Afterblight Chronicles’ books instead.
Three out of Ten