An odd book, this one. It was written by one of my favourite authors under a pseudonym, and unfortunately, it was the last thing she wrote before succumbing to complications from motor neurone disease.
I’ve read (and reviewed) one or two of her books from the excellent Jack Caffrey series, and I’ve found her an author who write brilliantly, and never shied away from the tough subjects like child abuse and genocide. The Book of Sand was very different:
The story is set (mostly) in a desert, the location of which doesn’t appear to make geographical sense. (There is a reason for this). In this desert, a group of families are searching for an artifact called the Sarkpont, which gives them the way out. But if that wasn’t enough, the families are being pursued by a fast-moving carnivorous creatures known as the Djinni.
Well, it’s taken them literally years, but they’ve finally done it. After many many complete failures and near misses, the DC stable have managed to release a movie that’s a near match for a Marvel flick. I say “near” as in “almost, but not quite.”
The Flash is DC comics resident speeder. Following a lab accident involving lightning and shelf full of chemicals, our hero gains access the Speed Force: an extra dimensional energy field that allows him to move at superhuman speed.
So how fast is he? Faster than Wonder Woman? Why, yes. Faster than Superman? Hell, yes. In fact (and, yes, I know it’s not an actual fact), he can run faster than the speed of light … and this is where the trouble starts. Young Barry (his real name is Barry Allen) discovers that when he breaks the light barrier, he can travel back through time. So, ignoring Bruce Wayne’s sage advice, Barry travels back to the day of his mother’s murder and tries to prevent it.
This is the second book in a series of three. (I reviewed Noumenon a while back, and I really enjoyed as I remember). You’re not going to be too surprised when I tell you that this book follows on from Book 1, more specifically the ongoing adventures of the seventh convoy as it takes on multi-millennium task of returning to the Dyson Sphere, completing, then activating it … to see what it does.
Yeeessss, the first and most obvious mistake is not doing your research: you don’t just go around switching on devices large enough to encase a sun, then cross your fingers and hope for the best. Needless to say, things start go wrong when the newly activated devices starts to behave in unexpected ways.
Like the first book, Noumenon Infinity is a monstrously epic tale spanning hundreds of thousands of years. The cast list, again, is immense, and once again the author treats each one as an individual tale that slips neatly into the massive story arc. The science is sound (in theory) and it was pacy enough to keep me reading constantly … for the first few days at least.
The last few hundred pages were struggled through with bloody-minded determination. The combination of aliens, post-humans, the Dyson Sphere, and the fleet splitting into two then reuniting centuries later was a bit of a struggle, and a little bit tedious at times. The prose didn’t strike me as punchy this time round, and in places seemed a little bit overdone.
Having said all that, I think this was partially my fault at least. Both these books were epic reads, so maybe doing them both back to back wasn’t a good idea. Essentially, it’s the same story told over hundreds of thousands of years. Hardly surprising then that I got a little fatigued near the end.
There’s one more book in the series which I’m going to leave until next year.