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by Sean Stewart
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Wikipedia in English
Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0441009964, Mass Market Paperback)Novels from fantasist Sean Stewart resemble icebergs: four-fifths of their content is hidden, adding psychological mass that is felt, even if not seen. His seventh novel is his best yet.
Galveston, Texas, is an island already rich in history and eccentric characters when, during Mardi Gras in the year 2004, sudden magic floods the streets. The world is changed--divided between the real city, where technology and its products become unreliable and scarce, and the city doomed to endless carnival, where it is always 2004 and there are still such wonders as cigarettes, cold beer, and aspirin. Twenty years later, three major figures hold the city in precarious balance: Momus, the king of carnival and god of magic; Jane Gardner, ex-lawyer and unofficial mayor, fighting to maintain essential services in the real city; and Odessa, angel and arbiter. When Gardner develops Lou Gehrig's disease, her daughter, Sloane, strikes a desperate bargain with Momus, and the delicate balance is destroyed; cataclysmic change ensues.
Stewart is at his considerable best when he focuses on character. He is able to make metaphor concrete using symbols that, in lesser hands, might be considered simplistic and clichéd. The author is less sure, however, when he attempts to paint a grander canvas: the hurricane towards the end of the book is not strictly necessary, and it flings the novel around a curve that it was perhaps not meant to follow. Despite this, the book has much to offer, with tips on poker, herbal medicine, and island survival to augment the powerful themes of loyalty and luck gliding beneath the surface. --Luc Duplessis
(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 14 Feb 2013 13:52:26 -0500)
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