Sunday, October 21, 2007

Keeping It Real

With apologies in advance, there is a special gift that English fantasy writers have to combine the mundane with the fantastic seamlessly. Jasper Fforde did it in his Thursday Next series with literary works and terminology which put everyone to sleep in Composition 101. Now, Ms. Robson combines fairly hard science fiction, traditional fantasy and feminine insecurity into a very good story in the first book of her Quantam Gravity series. This is not I, Robot meets Lord of the Rings in a London flat of a single secretary looking for love. But that's not too far off...

Lila was a minor attaché in a diplomatic mission to Alfheim, the world of the elves and elementals. This world was opened when the Quantum Bomb went off in Texas, along with the world of demons, the Dead, etc. She is also a spy sent to get magical secrets from the elves. She is discovered and punished as only Elves can punish a mortal. Nearly dead and her body damaged beyond recognition, she is rebuilt a la Bionic Woman with a nuclear power source, an on-board AI computer, a pharmacopia at her instant disposal, and more armament than a B1 bomber. Of course, somebody has to pay the bill and she gets her first assignment protecting an elf that has come to Earth and formed a rock band. The elves of his home world want him dead and will stop at nothing to make that happen. Lila finds herself in the middle of an internal political struggle amongst the elves that nearly got her killed the first time she encountered it. Now, she not only has to stay alive, she has to keep her client alive and get him to his concert on time. What's a girl to do?

Seamlessly meshing martial drama, political intrigue, magic, science and corporate politics with light fun-poking and flirting, this is an extremely entertaining book. This is not Ms. Robson's first foray into writing, but its the first one to fall squarely into my genre. And its well worth the read. I have acquired the second book and can only pray (and suggest) that this NOT become another interminable series. The characters deserve better and so does the reader.

This is a lighter, funny, exciting and engaging book. It is also the first big hit of a new publisher, PYR. Find it, buy it, read it. Support this author and the new label. And, enjoy a really good book in the process. Talk about win-win!

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