by Kate Saundby

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It is also a finalist in the Eppies SF category.

   I was captured by the first sentence. By the end of the Prologue, I was Kate Saundby's fan. At the moment of his death, the still unnamed protagonist has sprung to vivid life for me. Being also a writer of historical fiction, I can instantly appreciate the research that must have backed Saundby's writing. Everything about this man's thoughts rings true.

   Chapter 1 was almost a shock: suddenly we have jumped some 500 years, to a modern airport. Now the style is lively and brisk -- appropriate to the subject matter. And the connection is made by Chapter 2. At first it's mystifying: the times of Jeanne D'Arc are somehow mixed up with the present. Without giving the storyline away, I can say that slowly it starts to make sense. Well, a certain kind of sense.

   The book that started as historical fiction and turned into a contemporary mainstream transmutates into a fantasy, but by such small steps that the reader is carried along unknowing. This is the best way to make someone believe the unbelievable, and Saundby uses it well.

   This is a fun book, an excellent read, and carried through with near-faultless writing technique. I certainly want to read more from this talented author.

   That is not to say it was perfect, but what is? In a couple of places, I was a little lost as to who said what, or the sudden switches between times and places left me behind. I felt that the end could have been given more extensive treatment. Everything came to a head too fast so that some of the sections were more summaries than guided tours as they should have been. And after all, this is not a long book.

   Having said this, I still return to my previous statement: this is an excellent book, well worth reading and enjoying.


   Kate's book The Artemesian Mandate is a recipient of the LiFE Award: Literature For Environment. You can read Kate's bio in that section of my web site.

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