Reviews

A beautifully told story with colorful characters out of epic tradition, a tight and complex plot, and solid pacing. -- Booklist, starred review of On the Razor's Edge

Great writing, vivid scenarios, and thoughtful commentary ... the stories will linger after the last page is turned. -- Publisher's Weekly, on Captive Dreams

Monday, February 6, 2012

In the Lion's Mouth

A review in the San Diego Union-Tribune, second item:
#8220;"In the Lion’s Mouth”
Michael Flynn
Tor; 304 pages, $25.99

Michael Flynn continues his space opera series around the adventures of Donovan buigh — no typo; these characters often speak Gaelactic — and his former employers, the Confederation of Central Worlds. His daughter, the master harper Mearana, had hoped to reconcile him with her mother, a Hound of the League, one Bridget ban, but Donovan’s gone missing … kidnapped by Ravn Olafdsdottr, who shows up at Clanthompson Hall to tell the story of her interactions with Donovan.

Continuing the rich, cheery, grim density of the two previous novels in the series, “The January Dancer” and “Up Jim River,” Flynn shuttles us from Bridget ban’s estate to the ship where Donovan, in all his many personae, is captive, to conferences between operatives of the Confederation and the United League of the Periphery, to odd planets where some differences are … worked out. In engagingly violent ways. Flynn plays joyfully with more than one language, but even in straight English: “One no more despises an enemy than the knife despises the whetstone.” (I found that net searches for some of the Gaelic terms helped me appreciate more of the humor here and in the first two books).

There’s spying and thieving and politicking, both clean and not-so, and rifts in the bureaucracies that think they run this part of the Spiral Arm … and, as we are reminded often enough, it’s a big Spiral Arm. Certainly big enough for this lovely series, and, by the way, the ending does seem to leave room for a sequel, now that Donovan has more or less reintegrated all the characters who live in his head.

Jim Hopper, of Normal Heights, sometimes has trouble
enough with the single character in his head.

"Rich, cheery, grim density."   "Engagingly violent."  Interesting comments.  Not many books display cheering grimness or engaging violence.  And he hasn't laid eyes on ON THE RAZOR'S EDGE yet. 

1 comment:

  1. I'm revisiting The January Dancer and Up Jim River now that In the Lion's Mouth made sense of the world-building for me. as much as I like the Harper and the Scarred Man in the abstract, it never really fit as well as a dueling plot thread the way Ravn and Ravnstory did in In the Lion's Mouth. IMHO, the latest in the series is the most readable introduction to it.

    I liked Up Jim River mostly because the Scarred Man became the Shattered Man. That subplot was even more interesting than the hunt for Bridget Ban. In terms of Asimov books, it's as if Foundation were made into a serial, by design preceding each showing of the workmanlike Nemesis.

    Distressingly, both of the first two books were immediately available at the public library. Whatever their faults, more folks should read them. When I have the disposable income ---

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