I enjoy some alternate history. I was hoping I'd really like this book, because the premise was quite interesting.
There had been a left turn at Carthage: in ancient times, Carthage destroyed Rome, and Europe remained tribal. Islam colonized the New World, and founded Bilalistan. The Moors did not introduce the great plagues of European diseases, so the great Azteca state to the south, and the Native nations to the west, press in. Lion's Blood is interesting and well-written. I just didn't fall in love with the characters.
Now there is a well-established tradition that when the gods walk abroad among men, the do so in some form of disguise; gods manifest themselves as beggars or weary travellers, goddesses as washerwomen or old crones gathering firewood. Men say that this is typical underhand management behaviour, sneaking about and spying, like unmarked police patrol cars on motorways. Gods know that the real reason is to spare gods the embarassment of not being recognized by their adoring worshippers. (Odds and Gods in The Divine Comedies, p. 370)
Go mooch around the various links. I'm probably just humor-impaired.
The Aftermath: The idea is there is a great impact event (a comet strikes the earth). Fortunately for the human race, the American Association of Engineering Societies (AAES) were taking a 30th anniversary cruise, and just happened to be in the "safe zone" away from the impact. This novel is how they rebuild the world. No the novel is how the survivors elect committees to resurrect the world, and by the way, the women folk stay home. Jeez.
I found this fascinating when I first read it, probably in 1993. Ten years later, I found it aggravating and almost unreadable. Again and again, Manchester portrays the people of the Dark Ages as subhuman idiots.
"In the medieval mind there was also no awareness of time, which is even more difficult to grasp.
Modern San Francisco—with pointy-eared people. Elves have been part of the world for there to have been second or maybe third generation elf-human hybrids (haflings).
Rose Levine is a private investigator is hired to investigate unusual occurances in a mixed (human, elf, Halfling) art colony east of Berkeley. Is Bigfoot? Another kind of being? Or are mere humans trying to scare the colony off the land, so that it can be developed into a gated, golf course community?
Sister to the Rain is a sequel to Melissa Michael's Cold Iron. The Review:
This is an uninspired girl P.I. novel, not even as interesting as the previous, *Cold Iron*. Once again, the characterization stinks. The elves come across as just humans with pointy ears stuck on. There’s no convincing background framework or explanation: how are elves different from humans in psychology, motivation, elven interpersonal relationships, and so forth—just labels: charming sociopaths. It doesn’t fly.
Elves evidently can do magic, but you don’t see that reflected anywhere in the setting—that is, how has the presence of magic changed the world from the way we would perceive it now?
Cold Iron, by Melissa Michaels, is a run-of-the-mill girl P.I. novel. The plot’s ok (some holes); the dialog’s ok; the characterization stinks. The elves come across as just humans with pointy ears stuck on.
Modern San Francisco/Los Angeles/Hawaii—with pointy-eared people. Elves have been part of the world for there to have been second or maybe third generation elf-human hybrids (haflings).
Rose Levine is a not-very-successful private investigator, who is hired to investigate possible threats to the life of the lead singer of the elfrock band Cold Iron, Jorandel. She begins to travel with the band (they’re
Kitchen Confidential is a great non-fiction peek into the world of the professional chef, by a chef/writer named Anthony Bourdain. He here writes about the importance of character to an employer.
Bigfoot understood--as I came to understand--that character is far more important than skills or unemployment history. And he recognized character--good and bad--brilliantly. He understood, and taught me, that a guy who shows up every day on time, never calls in sick and does what he said he was going to do is less likely to fuck you in the end than a guy who has an incredible resume but is less than reliable about arrival time. Skills can be taught. Character you either have or don't have.