Book review: “Dr DOA” Simon R Green

doctor doaDr DOA is the latest installment in the ongoing Secret History series, and once again we find Eddie Drood and Molly Metcalf on a mission that is seemingly hopeless. Of course that doesn’t stop our intrepid heroes from fighting the good fight, beating clues out of bad people and doing what they can to guarantee the outcome of the story. Whether they do or don’t, well, you have to find out for yourself.

The premise of Dr DOA is in itself simple: Eddie Drood has been poisoned and he has to find the antidote. Facing death even more closely than usual, our very secret agent goes through the motions of trying to survive, whilst at the same times trying to come to term with his own mortality. And that’s what makes Dr DOA stand out from the other books in this series, and even a lot of other books in this genre: the way the author describes the character’s emotions, as if you are actually getting an insight of what it would be like to walk a mile in Eddie’s shoes in that situation.
Another positive point about this book is that it goes back to a previous installment and builds on that. A good metaplot is so rare these days, and it’s great to see that Mr Green is still a master of them.
The possible tie to the Ishmael Jones series is also a beautiful addition.

Dr DOA has not reached its final conclusion yet, so I look forward to reading what happens next!
Of course we all know Eddie will somehow survive, and whilst normally that might spoil the reading fun, it’s finding out exactly how he gets out of this one that keeps you glued to the pages and stick to the series. There are predictable parts, but they add to the story, rather than take from it.

Because there is such a strong connection to other books, I wouldn’t recommend starting out with this one if you are unfamiliar with the Secret History series, I’d rather suggest you simply start with the first one, The Man with the Golden Torc, so you don’t miss out on anything in later books. I would really recommend this series though if you like the idea of a sort of supernatural James Bond-eske setting.

For the fans of Secret History and the Nightside: one more Secret History novel ‘till Nightfall, where we’ll finally get the answer of “who would win in a fight? John Taylor or Eddie Drood?”. Lot’s of things to look forward to in the SRG universe!

Book review: “Ghosts of Karnak” by George Mann

Ghosts of KarnakGeorge Mann’s latest installment in his Ghost series, Ghosts of Karnak, is the 3rd in the ongoing tales of crime fighting adventures in a 1920s steampunk Jazz era New York.
I must admit that I have not read the previous books, and I found that to be no issue at all. There are only a few references to those, and none make you feel like you can’t follow the current story, which is great. It has left me with a desire to pick up the other two though.

Once again, the Ghost, a vigilante that reads like a cross between those other pulp fiction heroes: the Spirit and the Rocketeer, with a touch of Batman thrown in the mix, must save New York, and possibly the world as a whole. Whilst he may remind of those other heroes, the Ghost is very much a character in his own right, and a splendid leading man at that. His motley crew of allies are all equally well written. Paired with a storyline that keeps you glued to the pages, this is a brilliant read.
I especially liked how the point of view switches between characters, with subtle differences as the story unfolds through the eyes of different people, but without breaking pace or narrative.

As The Gatehouse is a strictly spoiler free medium, I won’t delve too deep into the story, but just let me say that the ancient Egyptian element, is really well done in this novel. But, you don’t have to be a history buff to appreciate this. The story is a perfect mix of history, science, mystery and the supernatural, topped off with some excellent steampunk inventions and touches all throughout. All of this combined makes Ghost of Karnak one of the best steampunk books I’ve read so far.

Product of the week: earl lagertha

LagerthaThis week’s product of the week is steampunk lingerie. Because it can’t all be regular clothes, especially not after I discovered these gems by Marlies Dekkers whilst shopping with friends. Of course, if you have no physical Marlies Dekker store or reseller near you, there’s always her website.

Marlies Dekkers is not usually a steampunk lingerie designer, but she seems to have made an exception this time with her earl lagertha series. And what an awesome exception it is. Albeit a pricy one. To be honest, for that price, she should have used real leather instead of faux leather, but I suppose that at least this way it’s vegetarian and vegan friendly. Still… it looks awesome.

I especially like that you can remove the harness pieces from the lingerie, so you can wear it as undergarments and the harness over a top (or if you’re into that look, over a skirt or skin tight hot pants with thigh highs) also. It makes it just that little more versatile.

There are several pieces in this series:
* Push up bra with harness
* Balcony bra with harness
* Bodice with harness
* Thong and garter belt style harness

Warning: your wallet and bank account may cry bitter, bitter tears upon seeing the prices. In fact the price is the only thing stopping me from getting these (for the harness pieces, the lingerie isn’t my thing).

Siberia: Jewel of the Nordic Empire

Jewel of the Nordic Empire map
Jewel of the Nordic Empire map (Lynn Davis)

In a world where the fifteen-century Kalmar Union took advantage of Muscovy’s ruinous war on the Mongols, the united Nordic people expand across northern Europe and eventually march east. They first sign treaties with the native tribes there for cooperation against Mongol raiders. In the present day, the empire seeks to attract English pioneers to colonize Siberia.

In Europe, the Nordic Empire has allied with Poland and the two control the various Russian states by proxy. A weak German Confederacy acts as a buffer and occasional battlefield between the Nordics and the Valois Union of France and Spain. In the Far East, Japan has conquered Kamchatka, Yakutia and, by the looks of it, Alaska.

This map was made by Lynn Davis, a Texas-based cartographer and writer. Visit her website for more fascinating alternate-history maps, including one of a civil war in a victorious Third Reich.