Thursday, October 5, 2017

A speculative novel about cloning, Jamaica, an alternative United States, and secret agents was remarkably boring...

I really ought to have loved this speculative short novel but I didn't, and it bums me out!

Set in an alternative now, where the US is broken into smaller countries -- Five Civilized Tribes, which is a conglomeration of US Indian/Native American tribes (I believe), the industrialized Tejas and puppet state of Albion, among others -- the story follows a Jamaican secret agent, Desmond Coke, who has smuggled a young boy from Jamaica in hopes of keeping him safe from a variety of nefarious forces.

It takes most of the novel to learn why they're being pursued and it's an intriguing premise. Desmond's work is hampered by geopolitical drama and some good old-fashioned double crossing, and with the 'Old West' ambiance and technology, it has the feel of Firefly or other weird West style stories.

And yet...I wanted more. I think were this a full length novel, it would have worked; the novella format didn't serve the setting or characters. (Full disclosure: I've been working my way through Tor's novella series, and I'm actually not enjoying most of them, so it really maybe be me and not this book!). There's a sequel coming, and I intend to read it because I want more of the world Broaddus imagines.

First line: Desmond Coke pinched a clump of chiba leaves from his pouch and rolled it into the fine pressed paper.

Title: Buffalo Soldier
Author: Maurice Broaddus
Genre: Fiction (Novella / Steampunk / Weird / Western / Political Intrigue / Alternative History / Jamaica)
Publisher/Publication Date: Tor (4/25/17)
Source: Library
Reading Challenges: Read Diverse

1 comment :

  1. I often find myself wanting more from short stories or novellas. I'm sorry to hear this one wasn't as exciting as it sounded!