|Posted on Friday, July 16, 2004 - 08:33 am: |
More what-if fantasy than secret history like his well-received debut, A Scattering of Jades (2002), Irvineís literate second novel asks some provocative questions: What if centuries of retellings of ancient myths actually convey disguised truths? What if the Holy Grail was really a piece of the Ark of the Covenant? What if the Grail controls much of human history? In 1953, wounded Korean War vet Lance Porter meets poet Jack Spicer in San Francisco. Spicer sees Lance as the Fisher King, destined to regain the Grail, heal himself and restore the land. The poet tells Lance heís "a serious monkey wrench in a very old plan" involving the Grail. Nothing in his life is as it seemed and people want him dead. Two subplots involve barnstorming baseball player George Gibson, who becomes the bearer of the Grail and undertakes a journey across Africa, and Arthur Rimbaud, past his days as a youthful poet and now a gunrunner in Africa. Irvine mixes myth, history, baseball, poetry, several belief systems and clear prose for an enchanting read. Sketchy characterizations are more symbolic than substantial, but they donít distract from the magic of the tale.
Here's Bookslut: http://www.bookslut.com/fiction/2004_07_002792.php
And the always-penetrating John Clute at Scifi.com: http://www.scifi.com/sfw/current/excess.html
|Posted on Friday, July 16, 2004 - 08:46 am: |
I thought the first two paragraphs of Clute's review were him writing a dense lovesong to himself. Almost impenetrable. I stopped reading less than half-way through so as not to spoil my enjoyment of the book when I buy it.
Anyway, the ideas behind this book really intrigue me and it's going to the top of my to-read pile soon.
|Posted on Friday, July 16, 2004 - 11:45 am: |
Cool, Jeff. Let me know what you think...
I'm still not sure if Clute liked the book or not, but I enjoyed reading the review because I like the way he thinks about things.
|Posted on Friday, July 16, 2004 - 12:44 pm: |
Talk about your shambolic farces...
He liked it with reservations.
And you are sorta shyly standing there, pointing at the world, aren'tcha, AI?
|Posted on Wednesday, August 18, 2004 - 05:07 pm: |
"I don't doubt that some hack reviewer is going to blurb something like, "if you liked The Da Vinci Code, you'll love One King, One Soldier."* That would be patently untrue. Unlike Dan Brown's beach read, Irvine has written the sort of novel that works best when you actually sit down and think about it. It's not quite as solid as the best efforts of an author like Tim Powers, but it's a surprisingly strong and deep second novel.
"* Note to Del Rey publicists: If you blurb that quote from my review, I'll trash every book you ever publish. You've been warned."
"A captivating historical thriller, a great spine-tingling romp through history in search of the Holy Grail. Fans of The Da Vinci Code will love this!"
-- Kevin Baker
|Posted on Monday, August 23, 2004 - 07:15 am: |
And Kevin Baker's not even a hack reviewer. He's a fine novelist, in fact--check out especially DREAMLAND.