Meg's Reviews > The Kingdom Beyond the Waves

The Kingdom Beyond the Waves by Stephen Hunt
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Aug 03, 2010

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bookshelves: steam-and-cyber-punk
Read from August 03 to September 05, 2010

** spoiler alert ** Think Charles Dickens meets Philip K Dick. I really wanted to enjoy this book but I have to admit it was a hard slog to actually get through it and I was fairly disappointed with the results.

Professor Amelia Harsh, denied tenure and eventually fired, for her radical ideas on society and the Legendary Camlantis is offered the opportunity of a lifetime by the eccentric and wealthy Abraham Quest. He offers her the money and manpower to find the ruins of Camlantis, now a seething mass of sentient jungle, and all he asks in return is a certain crystal book. Naturally there is more to it than meets the eye as Abraham Quest, tired of trying to change society from within, has decided to use Camlantean technology to kill everyone besides himself and a select few who will repopulate the world.

This feels like a complete rehash of The Court of Air with a slightly different setting; the would be revolutionary decides effecting real change can only be acheived by killing just about everyone and creating a new perfect society. There were obvious overtones of communism, Stalinism, gulags, concentration camps, and just about every major revolution, especially the French Revolution.

The most interesting characters were Cornelius Fortune, modeled after the Scarlet Pimpernel, and his partner and sometimes butler Septimoth, a winged lashlite. They swoop into Quartershift to rescue prisoners and kill party members and leaders. The customs of Septimoth's people and his banishment because of them are particularly interesting and you wish more time would be spent upon them.

Reading this book will make you wonder if Hunt, like Dickens, was paid by the word.
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