Saturday, 24 March 2012

Unnatural History - 5 years old but still going strong!

The first Pax Britannia novel Unnatural History was published more than five years ago but I'm still finding new reviews being written about it online.

I'm not sure when the following first appeared, but I'd not read it myself until the other day. It's by one Jacob Malewitz:

One day a dead man, the next a crime solver and a drinker of cognac, Ulysses Quicksilver has to be one of the more interesting fantasy characters in some time. The story of “Unnatural History” isn’t always consuming, not always fun, but it sure is nice to see a character come alive within the pages of a novel. And Ulysses isn’t clich├ęd; he has his vices, as the story tells. And the story …

A lawyer with a unique name, Screwtape, consults with Ulysses’s brother in the opening pages of “Unnatural History.” Screwtape is there to tell the brother that all of Ulysses’ assets are his. A problem arise: Ulysses, as one would expect, is far from dead, and shows up at the door during this meeting.

Ulysses quickly becomes involved in society again. After disappearing for over a year after an expedition into a mountain, he finds himself involved in a mystery. It seems minor, but the scope is big. A night watchmen at a major museum is murdered. He wasn’t just killed; he was killed brutally. The police think a thief did it, but Ulysses thinks something else is afoot—and has many questions. The second mystery comes when a professor at the museum is found to have disappeared as well. “The more he thought about it, the more convinced he became that he had been sent two different crimes committed by two different culprits.”

The world of Pax Britannia is different. The queen is in her 160th year of reigning over the still strong British empire, space travel is common, and the sciences have sped ahead at an alarming rate. But, the destitute are more numerous, and the slums darker than ever. The factories have turned much of the empire into wastelands. The history of this world is described in detail early. Jonathan Green holds nothing back in detailing it.

In Europe Britannia is powerful, even with many enemies like Socialist Germany. However, the true villains of Unnatural History come from within the empire. What follows is more than mystery. Unnatural History has plenty of futuristic views, plenty of action, and just the right amount of characterization. It stands as another classic from publisher Abaddon books.

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