“The Shadow Men” by Christopher Golden and Tim Lebbon (Spectra, 2011)

Shadow Men
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The literary duo of Christopher Golden and Tim Lebbon are back with the next in the Hidden Cities series, and after the paltry excuse of the last book, The Chamber of Ten, The Shadow Men is a return to what the two do best: great storytelling, with some fun characters, and one crazy plot.  Readers will not be disappointed with this next installment.

The Shadow Men focuses on the historic and wonderful city of Boston.  Jim is a rich and talented artist, who has the best wife in the world and a darling daughter he can’t get enough of, but he has also painted strange depictions of Boston, a different city that bears little resemblance to the real one.  When Jim takes a nap during the day, while his wife and daughter go shopping, his wakes up to find himself in an altered world: his fancy apartment now looks totally different, and there is no evidence of his ever having had a daughter or being married.  Jim’s world quickly falls apart as he tries to work things out.

This Boston seems different, but it is actually Jim and his life that is different, but there is one other person who is in the same predicament: Trixie, a close friend.  Together they wonder what has happened to them – physically they look different also – but the more they find out, the more it seems like Jim’s wife and daughter never existed.  They visit the oracle of Boston to discover that there are other Bostons out there, parallel ones, and it appears that his wife and daughter have somehow passed into one of them.  But time is running out and they will need to get them back soon or everything will come crashing down.  Then there are the Shadow Men, those dark shadows without faces who are chasing them.

The Shadow Men is Christopher Golden and Tim Lebbon at their best, reminding readers there are still some great and fantastic stories out there to be told, making them wonder if our world is really as cut and dry and normal as it seems.

Originally written on October 13, 2011 ©Alex C. Telander.

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Secret Journeys of Jack London Dreams of the Dead Map of Moments Boys are Back in Town

06/14 On the Bookshelf . . . “The Shadow Men” & “The Secret of Crickley Hall”

Shadow Men    The Secret of Crickley Hall

Received the next in the Hidden Cities series from bestselling authors Christopher Golden and Tim Lebbon, after Mind the Gap, The Map of Moments, and here’s hoping it’s better than the last one, The Chamber of Ten.  Also have the next new novel from the British master of horror, James Herbert, who I’ve been reading since I was a teenager!

“The Secret Journeys of Jack London, Book One: The Wild” by Christopher Golden and Tim Lebbon (HarperCollins, 2011)

Jack London The Wild
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We all know of the incredible writings of Jack London, who brought the wild world of nature to life with such unforgettable books as White Fang and Call of the Wild.  He was a man who embraced nature and respected everything it had to offer, but how did he become this man?

The dynamic writing duo of Christopher Golden and Tim Lebbon – who have brought us the entertaining “Hidden Cities” series with The Map of Moments and Mind the Gap – seek to answer this question now with a new series: The Secret Journeys of Jack London.  How did Jack London become the great writer he was?  Through unforgettable experiences, but these stories are the ones he could never quite explain; the ones he could never write about.

In the first book, The Wild, Jack London is a seventeen year-old boy traveling to the frozen wilds of Canada via Alaska, venturing into the dangerous Yukon Territory to play a part in the gold rush.  London quickly makes some new friends who struggle to travel along a wild river with raging rapids and the onset of an early winter, spend their time starving in an isolated cabin, and discover the existence of a gold-planning slave trade.  Then things take a turn for the supernatural and London finds himself on a number of occasions face to face with the fearful Wendigo.

Golden and Lebbon start out a little slow, keeping things normal and adventurous, but then things take a turn for the outright fantastic, with uses folklore and myth.  Readers of any age will be able to identify with this fun-loving, adventurous character who – fantasy elements aside – could well be telling true tales of his possible life.

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Originally written on April 10, 2011 ©Alex C. Telander.

“The Chamber of Ten” by Christopher Golden and Tim Lebbon (Spectra, 2010)

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Bestselling authors Christopher Golden (The Boys Are Back in Town and Baltimore) and Tim Lebbon (Dawn and Desolation) continue with the next Hidden Cities book after Mind the Gap and The Map of Moments, and this time they travel to the enchanting, historical city of Venice.  Geena Hodge, an archaeologist, is working with her team at the Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana when they come upon a hidden door.  A documentary crew is also with them from the BBC covering these last discoveries as Venice continues to sink beneath the waters.  Behind the door they discover the hidden Chamber of Ten, belonging to a secret group from the fifteenth century that controlled the city and the Doge.  Then a wall breaks and the Venetian waters begin flowing into the hidden chamber and filling it up, as the team does everything they can to rescue the documents and artifacts before everything is under water.  As time passes and excavation on the sunken chamber begins, Geena finds herself experiencing some very strange visions of a past time with dark magic and powerful people.  Then there’s Nico, a member of the team who is also Geena’s lover, and is a person with telepathically abilities who finds himself possessed by someone from the past with great power.

After the success of the great Map of Moments, The Chamber of Ten falls short of being a good novel, feeling rushed and over the top, with simple characters, and little going on other than ham-handed “black magic” and outlandish action scenes.  However, there has been some research done here on old Venice, which is shared with the reader, along with descriptive scenes of the beautiful Italian city.

CLICK HERE to purchase your copy from Bookshop Santa Cruz and help support BookBanter.

Originally written on September 29 2010 ©Alex C. Telander.

09/10 on the Bookshelf . . . “Antiphon” & “The Chamber of Ten”

Antiphon Chamber of Ten

Two books I’ve been most curious about.  First we have the third in the Psalms of Isaak, Antiphon, with its brand spanking new style of cover.  Here are the covers for the first two books in the series, Lamentation and Canticle.

Lamentation Canticle

So it’s a whole new look to it, but I can see TOR looking to capture more of an audience with this more common type of fantasy cover, so will be interesting to see if it pays off.  Personally, I think the older covers are better, more majestic, and more interesting.

And then we have the next installment from Christopher Golden and Tim Lebbon, after the fantastic Map of Moments, with The Chamber of Ten set in Venice.

“The Map of Moments” by Christopher Golden and Tim Lebbon (Spectra, 2009)

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Bestselling authors Christopher Golden and Tim Lebbon continue with the next novel of the Hidden Cities series, after Mind the Gap, with The Map of Moments set in the remarkable city of New Orleans.  The authors take on the divisive issue of Hurricane Katrina and the wrecked city that was left after August 2005, bringing to life the noir underbelly of New Orleans, as well as throwing in a healthy dose of the fantastic.  The Map of Moments is a great book you won’t soon forget.

Max Corbett is a college professor who left New Orleans for what he thought were some very good reasons, the most important of which was Gabrielle: a student and love of his life for a short while.  She stole his heart with her beauty and vivacity, then she cheated on him, so he left.  Then Hurricane Katrina happened.  He never called anyone, doesn’t know who’s alive and who’s dead; more importantly, he hasn’t heard anything from Gabrielle . . . until he gets the call with the news.

Max goes to New Orleans for the funeral and to face his demons.  He is then told by a strange man that there’s a way he can go back and change history; there’s a way he can save Gabrielle.  But first he has to travel to the special locations on the map he is given, The Map of Moments.  Each moment will take him back to an important moment in time, a place that was monumental in New Orleans history.  As Max travels back to each of the moments, he learns a lot, as he slowly puts the piece together, the mystery grows and unravels before him.  It is a dangerous world of black magic and the fantastic, not to mention the people who know what he’s up to and are out to kill him.

The Map of Moments is what happens when two great storytellers get together: a fantastic story set in an incredible city, with heavy doses of magic and mayhem.  It will keep you riveted to each page, as you pray for it never to end, but still wanting and needing to know what happens.

CLICK HERE to purchase your copy from Bookshop Santa Cruz and help support BookBanter.

Originally written on March 31st, 2009 ©Alex C. Telander.

For an interview with Christopher Golden check out BookBanter Episode 12.