The Suicide Exhibition: The Never War by Justin Richards
|The Suicide Exhibition: The Never War by Justin Richards|
|Category: Science Fiction|
|Reviewer: Margaret Young|
|Summary: Original, gripping alternate reality thriller - a good read despite one or two flaws and a great introduction to a new series.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 400||Date: November 2013|
|Publisher: Del Rey|
|External links: [Justin Richards Author's website]|
Guy Pentecross, has been transferred from active duty to the Foreign Office after an injury at Dunkirk, a move which seems to bring him both relief and frustration. On the one hand Dunkirk has obviously affected him, on the other he feels guilty doing a desk job while others fight the war. When chance events lead him to the fringes of a conspiracy, Guy is unable to resist the urge to be more actively involved in the war, but he is about to uncover a conspiracy beyond his wildest imagination. Very soon Guy will be fighting not only for Britain, but for the fate of the earth itself.
I've never been one for alternative history, but having heard of the Vril previously, this did catch my interest. In The Suicide Exhibition: The Never War the Nazi war machine has awakened an ancient race of Ubermensch which translates as over men or super men. The first translation may prove the most accurate though, as these creatures are not men at all, whether superior or otherwise. But they may very well become the overlords of mankind. The Nazis have unleashed a force they can not hope to contain. But will Guy and his associates at Station Z be able to contain this threat - or is another war looming which compared to which even WW2 will pale in comparison?
I had a few issues with this book, but all were minor. Guy Pentacross could have stepped right from the black and white screens of a war propaganda film, or the pages of an adventure novel written in the era in which this novel takes place. He is the stereotypical good guy, or knight in shining armour type without the character flaws that make heroes all the more human. I also found Sarah Diamond, the female lead a bit too feisty, too courageous. I felt both main characters needed more depth, but I suspect this may have been deliberate. Justin Richards has recreated the heroes of this era, noble self sacrificing and pure. It is as if he wanted to make the reader feel as if they were really in another time. And I have to admit I liked the purity aspect. I've read far too many books where the main characters jump into the sack at a moments notice, this book portrays a deeper and more sincere romance without being sugary in anyway. It portrays a romance built on mutual respect and caring - what a novel concept for a novel. The characters I wanted to learn more about were Miss Manners, David Alban from MI5 and the Vril themselves, but I think the author is just setting the scene and I'm sure we'll see more of all of these characters in the next book. He has created some mystery surrounding Manners and Alban while still allowing enough personality to show through to make you genuinely care about them. As for the Vril - this book leaves you with more questions than answers, but it also leaves you very much wanting to answer those questions. A good tactic for an author hoping to sell more books.
I also found the way in which both Guy and Sarah end up joining the shadowy Station Z completely beyond belief, and this is one area I do think the author could have done better. But for all my complaints, I enjoyed this book. It combines elements of many genres. Parts of this made me think of Indiana Jones, or possibly the da Vinci Code with a bit of James Bond thrown in while others were much closer to sci-fi. But the overall story is completely original, something I find very refreshing with the amount of books I go through. This book has some degree of sexual tension, but no sex whatsoever, and while there is violence, it does not depend on blood or gore, but rather on actual plot. It has it flaws, but the originality of the text and very strong writing towards the end of the book do in large part make up for this, and while I did enjoy this book, I believe I will enjoy the next one even more.
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You can read more book reviews or buy The Suicide Exhibition: The Never War by Justin Richards at Amazon.com.
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