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The Death of Art

By Simon Bucher-Jones

Reviewed by Chris Girdler

[Cover]

The Death of Art continues the 'psi-powers' theme with an interesting explanation for the source of the extraordinary abilities some of the characters possess. Whether it be the well-constructed passages set in 1880s France (almost all of the book), or the more complex explanations of a very alien species, the focus of the book is on the imbalance of power within threatened 'families'. The Doctor abandons the role of diplomat and fights for the 'right' side. The Grandmaster/Montague battle is more intense than the internal division of the Quoth, reflecting that the historical setting works better as a battleground (excluding a brief trip to Roz's home town, which is one of the novel's highlights).

Andrew Cartmel's influence is obvious and the book starts like one of his 'War' novels, with the Doctor in the shadows and his companions going under cover. Further into the novel, however, he is a more prominent character than Roz or Chris. Chris is characterised well in this book, getting himself into a humorous situation where he has to impersonate the Doctor. Roz suffers from being a prisoner most of the time but Bucher-Jones makes the most of this, especially when the effectively chilling Montague has the role of interrogator. At moments in the book Montague and the Grandmaster are interchangeable and the latter character changes his body a bit too frequently. The best character in the story is Emil, the Doctor's temporary companion.

The Death of Art is an elaborate book with a great range of ideas and intricacies. It demands to be read more than once and I feel it will be worth the effort.

This item appeared in TSV 49 (November 1996).

Index nodes: The Death of Art