Lavie Tidhar
The Bookman
The Bookman Histories/Les Lézards, Book #1


Review Brought to you by OBS Staff member Erin


When his beloved is killed in a terrorist atrocity committed by the sinister Bookman, young poet Orphan becomes enmeshed in a web of secrets and lies. His quest to uncover the truth takes him from the hidden catacombs of a London on the brink of revolution, through pirate-infested seas, to the mysterious island that may hold the secret to the origin, not only of the shadowy Bookman, but of Orphan himself…(via Angry Robot)


I thought the book sounded good when I read the description online. By page 14 I knew I was in love. Oscar Wilde is working on “The Importance of Being Something”, Moriarty (yes, THAT Moriarty) is Prime Minister and sending a space probe to Mars, complete with an Edison recording of whale songs. I love alternate history, and this is alternate history at its best. Combining real people with mythical characters, Lavie Tidhar picks and chooses not only the best from the Victorian era, but ours as well.

The writing is so beautiful that I would read some paragraphs over just to enjoy it again. I have never done that before in my life. Before I finished the book, I was looking forward to re-reading it. It’s the kind of book that will only get richer the more often it’s enjoyed. Not just because you know the end, but because you piece together all of the allusions throughout and enjoy the depth even more (but you don’t need to understand to follow the plot).

This may be a book that you either love or hate. The literary references are sometimes so jam packed that I thought about taking notes, but I liked them (it is The BOOKman, after all). Again, it isn’t necessary to know what they are to follow the plot. It has some weird moments, but it’s a must-read for alternative history or adventure fans.