Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Review: The Company of the Dead and more Updates

A few months ago you’ll recall that in an earlier post, that I had begun reading The Company of the Dead, by David J. Kowalski.  Well, the reviews are in and they’re largely good.

Can one man save the Titanic?  That’s the tantalizing question that leads off the superior time-travel/alternate history thriller by first-time author Kowalski. Or, without giving too much away, should one man save the Titanic?

The bulk of the story takes place in 2012, but not our 2012. It’s a curiously truncated era where the Great War ended prematurely with a German victory, America split again between the Union and the Confederacy and the victorious Japanese Empire occupies the west coast of the United States and New York City. The Kaiser still reigns in Berlin, Hitler never amounted to anything beyond a second-rate artist, and a humbled British Empire is allied with the Germans. Confederate spy Joseph Kennedy knows something’s gone off the rails in history, but can he fix it before the clock runs down and the world is engulfed in nuclear fire?

That’s as much as I’ll say here. This is a good book and you should buy it. But be prepared, at over 700 pages, it‘s a brick and will require an investment of your reading time. However, there are rewards aplenty, with something for every fan of the genre. Kowalski does an excellent job of characterization, but is perhaps a little less successful in fully sketching the world he has built. What is clear is that their technology is behind ours in many ways without both World Wars and the Cold War to provide impetus, but the author seems a little inconsistent in describing this technological level. Biplanes, zeppelins, jet fighters and computers (as well as atom bombs) all seem to co-exist here so it really seems kind of a mash-up and it never seems quite to jell for me. But that’s my only nit-pick and it’s a relatively minor one, at that.

I’ve just latched onto a new book, Osama: A Novel, by Lavie Tidhar, and the premise is an interesting one. I’ve started to read it and I’ll have a review for you soon. It takes place in a world much like our own, but where international terrorism has never taken hold. A private detective gets a job to track down the author of a series of paperback advernture novels with a most unlikely hero: Osama Bin Laden.  It sounds fun.

I’m still reading Stephen King’s 11/22/63, by the way, and hope to have a review on this book soon. I’m enjoying the read, so far.

In the meantime, you can help out a poor unemployed writer by purchasing both Elvis Saves JFK! for just 99 cents and War Plan Crimson, A Novel of Alternate History, for $2.99 (both are free to preview). Both books are also available through such fine on-line retailers such as Chapters Indigo, Barnes & Noble and Apple's iTunes Store.  And if you’re looking for an experienced marketing communications guy, do me a favor and have a look here. Thanks.

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