Amy's Reviews > Complication

Complication by Isaac Adamson
Rate this book
Clear rating

Isaac Adamson starts his latest book off with a refresher course in the definition of the word "complication', which also happens to be the title of the book. It is also a guidepost for the reader, for in this novel, set mostly in Prague, in various points of time, every single definition comes into play.

The main story line has Lee Holloway, a rather unassuming fellow, who, when cleaning out the detritus of his father's estate, finds a letter which indicates that the disappearance of Lee's younger brother Paul, in the Prague floods five years earlier, may have more mystery involved. (Side note: Two years after the death of my mother, I'm still clearing her estate and the detritus of her life. That Lee could dispose of just about everything so easily made me quite jealous.) Lee abandons his job at the Grimley & Dunballer Recovery Solutions, and heads off to meet Vera, who wrote the letter, at The Black Rabbit, a pub in Prague.

From here the tale becomes curiouser and curiouser, and like Alice down the rabbit hole, things are not always what they seem. There's the basic story line of Lee and Vera, which takes more twists and turns than a Gordian knot, Communist era spies and interrogations, Rumpelstiltskin (or a gangster bearing the same name), alchemy, black magic (complete with John Dee and Edward Kelly), and the eve of the Nazi invasion of Prague, all centered around The Rudolf Complication, a fabled timepiece, built for the Holy Roman Emperor Rudolf II, which runs both backwards and forwards, and grants eternal life.

It's a lot of threads to keep straight, but somehow it all works without derailing the reader's brain. The plot movements are like clockwork -- if the timepiece is The Rudolf Complication, that is, filled with fascinating twists, side-bits, and palindromes. There were moments in the book that just grabbed me for the detail or the phrasing. In hindsight, those moments were ones that gave me clues to unraveling some of the plot, thought I was not able to piece it all together to the end. And what an end. Wow. Complication is fascinating, entertaining, quirky, enlightening, and surprising. This book keeps the reader on all ten toes until the very end.

(4.5 stars, rounded up to 5)
2 likes · flag

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read Complication.
Sign In »

Reading Progress

February 19, 2012 – Shelved
February 29, 2012 – Started Reading
February 29, 2012 – Shelved as: advanced-reader-copy
March 1, 2012 –
page 80
29.41% "Do I like this book? I'm irritated at the things in my daily life that keep me from devouring it. Eating, sleeping, and life commitments are such annoying details."
March 2, 2012 –
page 151
55.51% "Second book I've read in a week where Prague features prominently."
March 3, 2012 – Finished Reading
March 5, 2012 – Shelved as: corresponded-with-author
March 5, 2012 – Shelved as: didn-t-want-to-put-it-down
March 5, 2012 – Shelved as: great-title
March 5, 2012 – Shelved as: made-me-look-something-up
March 5, 2012 – Shelved as: read-on-recommendation
March 5, 2012 – Shelved as: wow
March 5, 2012 – Shelved as: want-to-re-read

Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Julia (new)

Julia Now added to my must read list!

message 2: by Amy (new) - rated it 5 stars

Amy I'm curious to hear your reaction to his descriptions of the city.

back to top