Thirty years after global holocaust, the colony of Carthage still struggles to build its new world. While steam engines and other early industrial technology have empowered its economy, the fragile society is undermined by secret crimes, rifts between generations, government censorship, and a legacy of casting out those who suffer from radiation sickness.
Embittered survivor Hadrian Booneonce a revered colony founderhas been hounded by despair and the ghosts of his past into a life of drunkenness and frequent imprisonment for challenging the governor’s tyranny. But when a gentle old man, the colony’s leading scientist, is murdered, Hadrian glimpses chilling secrets behind the killing that could destroy the colony. Realizing that he may be the only one able to expose the truth, Hadrian begins a desperate quest through the underbelly of the colony into the wrenching camps of the outcasts, escorted by a young policewoman who struggles to cope with the physical and emotional remnants of the prior world. Ultimately, Hadrian’s journey becomes one of self-discovery. In his search to find justice, his greatest challenge is navigating the tortuous path of the human spirit in a world that has been forever fractured.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This stand-alone mystery translates Pattison's popular Tibetan detective series (Skull Mantra etc.) into a post-apocalyptic setting, with essentially the same formula. Disgraced intellectual Inspector Chinese Shan is replaced by the disgraced intellectual co-founder of a colony of nuclear holocaust survivors; like Shan, he is unofficially tasked with solving a murder mystery by a corrupt government that interferes with his investigation and mistreats outcast mutants and radiation victims for the "greater good" -- much like the corrupt and monolithic Chinese bureaucracy interferes with Shan's investigations and mistreats the Tibetan people. The role of the wise but innocent Tibetan monk is played by a wise but innocent scientist who tries to rebuild civilization while working within the context of a short-sighted and despotic government. Pattison fans will recognize the theme.
Despite the formulaic approach (after all, that's why they call it a genre), this is quite a good...
My main interest in this book was its post-apocalyptic setting, and some thought was given to this premise. In addition, it was well-written and edited (though I do recall a couple of misspellings), something not remarkable in many of the P/A books nowadays. I also enjoy an occasional mystery novel, so this book had a double attraction for me.
This is a late review, and the outline of the novel has been well-supplied by earlier reviews, so I won't reinvent the wheel. Hadrian Boone, the protagonist, sets out to find the killer of his long-time friend, Jonah, who was the survival colony's leading scientist. I do think Hadrian is a rather poor choice of the main character, a bit too weepy and melancholic for my taste, but I didn't find the book all that bleak or dismal, and it certainly bore no resemblance to the world depicted by Cormac McCarthy in The Road. Also, the author observes literary conventions, believes in punctuation and doesn't leave the reader wondering what is...
I am a great fan of Pattison's Inspector Shan Tao Yun's novels which take place in modern Tibet. As it has been some time since one has been produced, I thought to take a look at Pattison's other novels.
Bye and large, I am a big fan of apocalyptic fiction. Too often the plots follow a formula, i.e. everything will be fine. Even though the author takes us a different route, i.e. there is a mystery, the outcome is still the same. The book is page turner.
Having said that,I have 2 quibbles with the book. The main characters always seems to be getting into a situtation and they never look over the shoulders to help avoid stepping into it. After 20 pages, I knew who the real power was - and he wasn't invisible. The other problem is the settlement of St. Gabriel - they are just waiting. They are raiders and that is what they will do. They are the predators to Carthage/New Jerusalem grazers. Look over your shoulder!
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