My introduction to John Meaney came through the Nulapeiron series with the book Paradox. I was blown away by the quality of the writing. Then I placed the novel on my shelf and sort of forgot about it (I read a lot). Through my library Bone Song came to my attention. Talk about pleasant reunion with an author. This reminder led to the purchase of the remainder of the Nulapeiron Sequence and the later continuation of Tristopolis with Dark Blood.
John Meaney writes a mean book, a novel that draws me into its lair waiting to be consumed by it. And I was. Bone Song was incredibly difficult to put down. Meaney’s description of Tristopolis is beguiling and dark. Atmosphere and personalities light up like a beacon in my mind.
Considering the title of my blog Bone Song is the perfect first novel to review. In it we find the darker side of humanity described in a manner that shows us the lure of power – power-hunger – power-addiction and the concept that some people are more equal than others.
Bone Song is the first book in the Tristopolis series. Tristopolis is the city of Lieutenant Donal Riordan, the good guy in this plot. It is also a city where the dead are sent to give energy to the generators that keep the city running. Zombies, wraiths and gargoyles are only some the races inhabiting this world along with humans, and Donal manages to interact and make friends with them all.
Bone Song is supposedly a horror book but I’m not sure I agree with that assessment. It’s certainly a dark enough world, but it seems bleak rather than horrifying and creepy.
Donal has been assigned to protect an exceptional opera singer who the authorities suspect is on the hit-list of a mysterious serial killer. The job does not go well. Donal gets drawn into a world of deception and betrayal, a world where he has to find someone hidden by powerful connections.
There is murder and mayhem, but Donal shines like a beacon in this book. He’ll kill and maim if he has to, but he’d prefer it if he didn’t. His opponents (mysterious as they are) are quite different. “The end justifies the means” seems to be their motto. This does seem to be the motto of power-addicted people.
Bone Song available on Amazon US
Cover art by Jim Burns
Wow. This book is gold. “Context” is book no. 2 of the “Nulapeiron Sequence”. As such it is the continuation of the story about Tom Corcorigan. This story keeps getting better and better. Meaney blends philosophy with action and obsession beautifully. In Context he manages to keep the text flowing in a manner above and beyond most authors. What a gift.
Tom is healed from devastating injury. His security chief, Elva comes along. Unfortunately, she is killed on that trip. This becomes a defining moment for Tom. He realises his love/passion/obsession with Elva. When it turns out that somehow Elva has survived, but that her mind has been transferred to the body of her twin sister. Tom goes off hunting Elva. In the process he becomes one of the most important tools in the fight against the Blight.
Of course, there are many stages of learning for Tom. One does not blithely meet with something as powerful as the Blight. One of the many tools aiding Tom is the mu-space crystal that he got hold off in “Paradox“. From it we learn more about Ro and her role in the whole mystery.
Hard-core science fiction has seldom been more fun. Please, please read this trilogy if you have the chance.
Cover art by Jim Burns
I’ve now read “Paradox” for the third time and am still enjoying it as much as the first. Because I’m a dork, I just realised that there are two more books to this series. Well, well, live and learn.
From the above I’m sure you can tell that I really liked “Paradox“. We get a large dash of philosophy, some biology, sociology, lots of action and a thoroughly likeable protagonist. Tom Corrigan is at the centre of our attention throughout the whole novel. He raises himself through the various layers of society through hard work, luck and other people’s ambition. There is no sugar-coating of our hero. He rises to the greatest heights and falls to the deepest depths of hell. Meaney is a really good writer.
Nulapeiron is a strange world. Semi-alive dwellings and vehicles. Subterranean demesnes layered from the poorest to the richest. At the very top we find the Oracles.
Tom Corrigan is witness to the brutal killing of a woman by the militia. She just happens to the same woman who gave him a small, seemingly insignificant info-crystal. Shocked to his core, Tom realises that she is one of the mythical Pilots.
This info-crystal, along with the Oracle Gerard, are the two things that push Tom onto a path that will take him to his destiny.
The Tristopolis series about Lieutenant Donal is an incredibly warm and tense mystery. In Bone Song, we see Laura (Donal’s boss and lover) ends up deader and Donal with her heart. “Dark Blood” sets out to discover the whereabouts of the magicians responsible and we follow Donal’s journey towards that end.
We get to see descriptions of loyalty, friendship, love, grief, betrayal and a whole lot of magic throughout the novel. John Meaney is a top-class author who manages to portray a world of complexity and three-dimensionality.
Some of the descriptions inside are quite vivid and that makes me recommend this for teen-aged and upwards. Death-sentences in Tristopolis just aren’t carried out as nicely as the ones on this earth.
This is definitely a read-again novel.