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Newtons Sleep by Daniel O'Mahony
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The sole Faction Paradox book from Random Static continues very much in the precedent set by Mad Norwegian – a thoughtful novel of bold ideas. It’d be spoiling things to give away the big concept at the heart of the book, suffice to say it’s a big, bold and clever take on one of the ideas that’s been at the heart of the Faction books from the start.

Probably the best thing about the book is Aphra Behn, whose abilities may seem unlikely on initial inspection but which the historical records confirm as genuine. She’s presented almost as a 17th century female James Bond, a modern emancipated woman in a chauvinistic age. O’Mahony makes her a fully realised character in her own right, the human heart of a story dealing with big SF concepts and wars between beings of godlike abilities. It’s even better for her human frailties undermining her view of her own achievements, she’s highly self-critical of all that she does. She’s also refreshingly sexually proactive, men being more means to her own satisfaction than the other way round. It’s a satisfying and enjoyable role inversion. O’Mahony’s got a definite gift for nuanced characterisation – though Nate Silver comes across as a bit of a cipher, virtually every character comes across as well-rounded and memorable.

As ever with O’Mahony’s work this could’ve done with a little more humour to lighten the heavy atmosphere a little – much of the humour present is of the black variety, when contrast might have served the novel better. The levels of sex and occasional emphasis on other bodily functions seem almost adolescent at times too. It’s a shame as it often undermines what’s generally a well-crafted, beautifully written novel. Nevertheless it continues the range’s general high standard. ( )
  JonArnold | Aug 14, 2014 |
Two years ago, the Faction Paradox novel series fizzled to a halt with a couple of disappointing entries from Mad Norwegian Press, Warring States and Erasing Sherlock. But now, Random Static has brought it back, and while this book is no Of the City of the Saved..., it by no means disappoints. On one hand, O'Mahony's historical evocations are excellent, as is his characterization, and his prose is dense and enjoyable. On the other hand, the conclusion is a bit of a muddle, and I wouldn't have understood a bit of it without the Internet to help me along. But then I might just be a poor reader. In any case, it's nice to know that the War in Heaven is back in action, and I look forward to more installments in the series.
  Stevil2001 | Apr 2, 2008 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 047312498X, Paperback)

Don't tell her what it was like. Don't tell her how you had to dig your way out through heavy layers of clay to reach the fresh air, because that would distress her. Don't tell her about the box, because that would confuse her.

And don't tell her about the light, because that was sacred.

Lately cannonballs have flown their arcs, leaving the crystal sky unbroken, while on Earth their traces are all too visible. Yet though Heaven has never seemed so far away, the divine is terribly closer. War on Earth presages War in Heaven; the struggle between the holy houses of Christ and their eternal Adversary has erupted among the living.

These are the signs of the last days: in 1651, a dead angel is found in a tree in Lincolnshire and a nymph rises from the waters of Kent; in 1642, a dying man is miraculously healed in the grave; in 1665, uncanny skull-masked doctors descend upon a plague house; in 1683, the French secret service unveil mirrors that show the futures; in 1671, Aphra Behn - she-spy and poetesse - infiltrates a gathering of alchemists; in 1649, the English kill their king, and history begins...

Newtons Sleep is a stand-alone science fiction novel set in the universe of Faction Paradox.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:25:33 -0400)

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