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Set Piece

By Kate Orman

Book review by Nicholas Withers

After the excellent debut novel of antipodean New Adventure author, The Left-Handed Hummingbird by Kate Orman, Set Piece is a bit disappointing. Again Kate Orman was nearly impeccable in the research of the historical portions (although Akhenaten did not tend towards a repressive rigid monotheism until his last years. In fact for much of his reign the worship of other Gods was tolerated and allowed, it was just not state funded). As a student of Ancient Egyptian history I enjoyed the way in which Kate Orman characterised the Pharoah during his short scenes, which suggested that the ultimate reason for his religious revolution was a desire for immortality.

But Set Piece is let down by the fact that it is a direct sequel to perhaps one of the least popular New Adventures. As such Set Piece tends to be confusing for those not immediately familiar with Transit (myself included). Where as a novel like Warlock has proved that sequels are possible by reintroducing characters and concepts from the earlier prequel (Warhead in this case), Set Piece leaves the reader often puzzled. This perhaps also contributes to the second major problem in the novel. For nearly the entire first half of the book there is a general lack of direction and a failure to captivate the reader to the same extent that Hummingbird did.

However on the upside the chapter headers provided some good comic relief (my favourite was the Time Lord joke). Set Piece is miles above Goth Opera (still at the bottom of my list) but is below Hummingbird and the excellent Warlock.

This item appeared in TSV 44 (June 1995).

Index nodes: Set Piece