Sunday, August 28, 2005

Fitzpatrick's War

Tomorrow, I head into the actual city of Edinburgh, which I recall (it's been 10 years) as one of the cooler cities I've visited. For today, however, I'm safely ensconced in Hilton-land. I'm ordering room service, going to the hotel pool, surfing the Internet -- I could be practically anywhere (well, I did order fish and chips). Part of me feels like I should be off sight-seeing, but I really need a day to relax and get adjusted.



On the plane ride over, I finished Fitzpatrick's War. Lately I've been choosing my reading a bit more carefully than I used to -- there's only so much time for reading, after all. With this book, however, I picked it up because I became intrigued by the cover while we were waiting in line at Mysterious Galaxy last month for the Jasper Fforde book signing.



It turned out to be "future history" book about a 25th century where electricity was unusable due to the machinations of an elite technocratic secret society. In fact, the elite secret society schtick gets a bit tiring in SF novels, and it's probably the weakest point of this book. Fortunately, the society is not the primary focus of this book. Instead, it tells the story of one of Fitzpatrick's compatriots, Robert Bruce. Fitzpatrick is a latter-day Alexander the Great, conquering the world at a young age (and dying before he gets to enjoy his rule). Lest you think I am giving away too much, this is all revealed in the prologue, which is written by a 26th-century historian. The historian's frequent footnotes attempting to discredit Bruce's story add a bit of levity to the book.

The book takes place in a well-imagined future world -- probably the best part of the book. The plot is mildly interesting (maybe more so for Alexander devotees), and the characters are well-drawn enough. The ending doesn't really leave room for a sequel, which is probably just as well...the author could probably do a better job in his second SF novel setting things up.
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