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30 March 2012

paperback published by TOR Books, August 2011.
This book was another not bought, but, in this case, given to me. The author very kindly sent me a copy and I put it aside for a couple of weeks until I could read it in one uninterrupted sitting. Which I did, becoming so engrossed by halfway that I sat up until well after midnight to finish it. Not that I’d expect less, while she has a lowish output it’s all quality and this is a standout. I haven’t seen the movie, and don’t expect to until it appears on TV in another 3-4 years. But if it’s anywhere near as good as the book then once I’ve seen it I’ll be buying the DVD to keep – just as the book has been filed in my ‘permanent’ section to be reread and reread over many more years.
There’s no time wasting in this work. The reader is pitched into action within seven pages. Not that the first six are boring either, far from it. Not when they start with a man lying unconscious in the desert, no boots, no horse, no gun, no food or water – and no memory. All he has is what appears to be a strange metal bracelet about his wrist. Three men and a dog appear, it’s kill or be killed, and the guy survives in an explosion of violence. To the winner the spoils, and mounted on one of their horses, now with food, water, weaponry, boots – and a dog – he rides for the nearest town, one they’d mentioned. A town named Absolution.
And in Absolution he finds more trouble when the town and its people are attacked by strange raiders out of the sky. People are kidnapped, killed, and buildings torched by the blue fires of the aliens – and the lost man finds what his bracelet is and can do. But what is he to do when he finds that he may be an outlaw with a massive price on his head? When he sees the man who tended his injuries slaughtered before him? And when he begins to fear that he may have committed one of the most reviled crimes in the old West?
He finds odd allies, old colleagues, and a woman who may not be what she appears to be, and he sets out to discover where he came from and what – or who – took his memories. And in doing that he’s going to change into something he never thought to be. I cried as I read the final 56 pages, and I shut the book with satisfaction. The finish was everything it should have been. It tied off loose ends, it explained everything that needed explaining, and it gave you hope for the characters. For the man who was there at the start of the book and at the end in particular.
If you see the movie and like it, you may well like the book even more, and if you didn’t like the movie, buy the book, I suspect that it’s better. And while you’re about it, take a look at the author’s other work, because that’s all good too!

1 Comment »

  1. Read the book and saw the movie, my conclusion: beautiful book based on a complete waste of a movie. The movie doesn’t have any motivations and no explanations, things just happen (I don’t know if D. Vinge made things up herself or maybe they were in the script but then edited out). The book is so much about characters, human nature, change and memory, I enjoyed it a lot.

    Comment by Liz — 11 June 2012 @ 18:26

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