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.
I really liked Relic by the same author, so I thought it was worth giving another one of his books a punt. A random stab on Amazon brings up a Call To Arms, a story (number one in a trilogy, I think) about a galactic war between two cultures.
One alliance (the Amplitur) seeks to unite every being in the universe in the undertaking of one great Purpose.
The other alliance (the Weave) would rather not.
And so, the battle rages on for centuries, with both sides recruiting civilisations, but neither side really gaining advantage. The problem is deceptively simple: each side believes heart and soul in their cause, but each side has evolved beyond the savagery, the desire for violence, the selfishness, the innate sense of superiority they need to win the war.
Then on a routine scouting mission, the Weave encounter a creature from a race who may have the destructive qualities that can turn the tide of the war.
The creature’s name is Will, a frustrated music composer from New Orleans.
There’s no getting around it: there are an awful lot of vampire books out there, especially ones that are aimed at a younger audience (though I’m not entirely sure this one is). So in my view, it takes an enormous amount of chutzpah to crank out another one. I mean, can The Radleys possibly offer anything new?
Okay, so what have we got? The Radleys are your fairly typical family living the suburban village dream. The parents are sick of each other and their teenage children are sick of their parents. On top of this, there’s the added complication that the parents, Peter and Helen, are “abstaining” vampires hiding out in rural England. This less-than-idyllic life comes to an abrupt end when their daughter Clara comes of age and accidentally kills a boy from her school.