What would life be like if the Allies had lost the Second World War? In an imaginative alternate reality, Philip K. Dick creates a world in which Japan occupies America, and the Nazis are moving their totalitarian conquest on to the solar system.
Politics, corruption, power – Imperium.
Imperium is told from the perspective of a highly able and literate slave, Tiro, following the story of his master Marcius Tullius Cicero, a great orator, lawyer and above all politician. The pair bear witness to the classic strive to ultimate power within the great Roman Republic, highlighting the dark deals, bribery and sheer ingenuity required to make it to the top. This is certainly in likeness to a Roman ‘House of Cards’, bearing the same dramatic trials and tribulations which make for highly compelling drama.
In a land built on steampunk contraptions and demonic beings, The Incorruptibles mixes the dangerous ingenuity and extravagance of ancient Rome, with the hard corruption of the wild west. Along with a dash of fantasy, this cross-genre novel harbours both ingenuity and intrigue.
Exotically imaginative and audaciously funny, The Girl Who Saved The King Of Sweden is another wonderful example of Jonasson’s witty and entertaining writing style. Following on from the success of his debut novel, once again Jonasson spins an irreverent and impossible narrative, born from small beginnings surging ever on towards the large and the great.
Human nature transcends time, ever offering violence upon the innocent, cruelty bred from war. Following a number of timelines and characters, Transatlantic explores the strifes of humanity, which echo on throughout history.
McCann’s subtle links and recurring themes underlying his plot certainly make for an interesting read. As the novel progresses, what at first appear seemingly unrelated stories become delicately intertwined, passing down through generations. TransAtlantic delves through history, shedding light on the unchanging nature of life for all our past ancestors, from violence to love, and hope to woe. Under the backdrop of an ever aggrieved Ireland and the fragile promise of America, McCann skillfully relates the hardships of humanity from a variety of characters, whose lives merge into one another’s in the slightest of ways.
In a truly beautiful narrative, Miller adds a precious humanity to a tale preserved only in the golden glory of myth. The Song of Achilles is a tragic tale known by all, following the legend of the Ancient Greek demigod Achilles, from his early childhood through to the great siege of Troy. In a refreshing re-imaging, Miller has created a touching romance that drives straight to the heart of its characters.
After my recent read of The Ghost by Robert Harris, I was interested to see how he approached his historical themed novels which I have also been highly recommended. Pompeii certainly didn’t disappoint.
Following its key protagonist, Marcus Attilius, an engineer for the aqueduct of the Aqua Augusta, Pompeii delves into a gripping tale spanning the few days before this major historical event. With the inevitability of the disastrous eruption, Harris faced the evident challenge of creating a tale of which all would know its end. In this aspect, Harris did a remarkable job of imagining a wider fictional narrative, offering a refreshing ground perspective on something emphatically distanced by history. Exacting his distinct knowledge on the period, Harris perfectly merges fiction with fact.