epiphany_maria (epiphany_maria) wrote,

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Book Reviews: Outpost + Saint-Germain Memoirs + Ship Breaker

Outpost by Adam Baker

Kasker Rampart is an oil refinery platform in the Arctic. It is populated by a skeleton crew of burnouts and nutters who eagerly await the relief ship. But beyond the frozen wasteland a global pandemic has ravaged the world.

The marooned crew fight to survive and find a way home. But starvation, hypothermia and cabin fever aren’t the only dangers they face. The mysterious contagion is closer than they think. Way closer.

This is a very good and supremely creepy tale of the end of the world. It is wonderfully unsettling as the bleakness and isolation are powerfully invoked.

Saint-Germain Memoirs: Tales of the Vampire Saint-Germain by Chelsea Quinn Yarbro

As it says on the cover, this is a collection of stories about the immortal vampire Count that cover various parts of his life from BC to AD.

In ancient Greece the count helps a neglected wife and her children who are in dire need of help. This is good and the revelation of the identity of her husband, is very appropriate.

Lost Epiphany
The Count has ended up as a galley slave to pirates in the Aegean. But when the ship founders on an island the help forthcoming has a price. This is good.

Tales out of School
The Count teaches at Padua University in 1325. With surly students and an ill widow to keep his interest. He is content for now. But as always the Count makes errors of judgement concerning the people he associates with and so trouble looms. This is okay.

A long series of letters that covers Roger’s attempts to aid the Count during a long, long imprisonment by the Inquisition in South America. This is okay.

A Gentleman of the Old School
In modern day Canada a reporter looks into a serial killer case with an unlikely ally. This is okay and somewhat reminiscent of Tanya Huff’s ‘Blood’ books. It is sad that Roger still has nothing better to do with his long life than to be the Count’s boot boy.

Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalup

A tale of a dystopian future. Nailer works stripping copper wire from wrecked oil tankers on a beach. But he's growing up and getting too big for the job. He’s afraid of winding up with no job, no food, no money and with no-one to watch his back. But then a violent storm washes ashore something that changes his life.

Nailer is the first one to see the beached ship. It belongs to a rich clan and this is Nailer’s lucky strike. His chance to make something of himself and get off the beach. But his plans for salvage are derailed when he finds something on the ship he hadn’t expected. Nailer lives a grim hand to mouth existence. He has always fought to survive; now he must fight harder.

This is good, a bleak look at the future where the world has changed. We get tantalising glimpses of the world beyond the beach: China is the superpower, cities are drowned, the Arctic has melted and hurricanes are known as city killers. This is well worth reading.
Tags: book review, chelsea quinn yarbro

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