Tuesday, January 12, 2021

First Paragraph

They almost missed the train. They had always planned to arrive close to departure time, so that Amanda had to spend as little time as possible on her feet, but there was a flash mob on the Place de la Concorde and all the streets leading into it were blocked.

- From Europe in Winter by Dave Hutchinson

[Note: This is the third volume of an extraordinary science fiction series based in a fractured Europe. Having read the first two novels, I highly recommend the series. I'm looking forward to this novel.]


Jake Smith said...

Absolutely agree. Hutchinson is a great writer; he has a genius for creating believable and interesting characters and moves effortlessly between genres such as science-fictional parallel worlds and high tech spy thrillers. I've read all four books and can honestly say that this is one series where the quality does not decline from the earlier to later books.

That said, I have to admit that the series drives me nuts in many ways. For one thing, there is a wheels-within-wheels aspect to the plotting that makes it difficult to figure out who is doing what to whom and, more to the point, *why*? There are instances where a major player in an earlier book turns out to be something entirely different in a later one. A few weeks after I first read the series I went back and reread it, but I still couldn't figure out what's really going on. Then there are the sidebars, episodes that Hutchinson throws in that don't really seem to advance the plot (such as it is) but are there for the atmosphere. And the fact that the key science fictional element, which is integral to the entire story and was first used by an 18th century English family, is never explained. Nor, so far as I can tell, does anyone wonder how it works. Oh, and there are the loose ends, including a huge one Hutchinson tosses in at the very end of the last book.

I guess none of this really matters, though; Hutchinson's writing is that good. Forget the logical inconsistencies and go along for the ride -- it's well worth it.

Michael Wade said...


I am glad I wasn't the only person scratching his head in some sections. Nonetheless, as you note, it is an extraordinary series that is highly enjoyable.