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Conscience of the Beagle Paperback – November 1, 1993

6 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

After 150 years as a tranquil, staunchly religious colony of Earth, the planet Tennyson is rocked by a series of deadly terrorist bombings, among the victims of which are several people who are later identified as revolutionaries. Called in especially from the Home Forces on Earth because of his stalwart reputation, Maj. Dyle Holloway leads a crack team of detectives that includes the mind of a dead investigative genius downloaded into the body of an android, a shaky demolitions expert, and a police officer who may be a spy from headquarters. As Holloway wrestles with his own paranoia and nightmarish flashbacks to the only case he never solved--the murder of his wife--the evidence begins to indicate that the culprit behind the bombings is a high-level member of Tennyson's own government--in fact, the man who hired the investigators. Combining quick, deft characterization with sharp, suspenseful first-person narration (Holloway's), Anthony's third and shortest novel is easily her best. Carl Hays --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Kirkus Reviews

Interstellar detective yarn from the author of two excellent novels involving aliens (Cold Allies, 1992; Brother Termite, p. 896). Major Dyle Holloway and his team--Szabo the psychic, demolitions expert Arne, and the humanoid robot Beagle--are sent by Home Force of Earth to planet Tennyson, a religious dictatorship now enduring a series of terrorist bombings in which prominent scientists and dissidents have been killed. Handicapped by guilt over his failure to solve the murder of his wife, Lila, Holloway is further inhibited by knowing that one of his team is a spy; neither does he trust Vanderslice, Tennyson's Minister for Science. Holloway questions Tal Hendrix, wife of one of the dead dissidents, and initiates a sexual relationship with her; Tal tells him that Vanderslice is the head of the secret police. Arne is killed by a bomb; Szabo, having lost his psychic powers, confesses to being the spy, and commits suicide--but who is causing the explosions, and why? Beagle's investigations will prove crucial, as Holloway discovers why, and by whom, his wife was murdered. Told in a creamy-smooth first-person, present tense: an altogether satisfyingly complex if occasionally overwrought puzzler. Anthony's meteoric rise to the novelistic front ranks is thoroughly deserved. -- Copyright ©1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 201 pages
  • Publisher: Wildside Pr (November 1, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1880448297
  • ISBN-13: 978-1880448298
  • Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 5.9 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #11,654,836 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Wayne Klein HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 13, 2003
Format: Paperback
Patricia Anthony is science fiction's best kept secret. It's really rather sad because she's probably one of the best contemporary novelist and short story writers around. Her novel Brother Termite managed to subvert a genre that had become little better than cliche. In the process she also managed to satirize politics, our view of aliens and our obssessive/compulsive media.
Essentially, isn't quite what he seems and neither is this richly plotted mystery sf novel. I'm not going to recap the plot here as it's been done quite well in the review but suffice to say that Anthony, like Phil Dick, takes science fiction (and other genre)conventions and likes to turn them inside out/upside down. Then she procedes to wrap a characters around the skeleton of the plot and finally top it off by wrapping her novels (and short stories)in a narrative skin that keeps your attention regardless of the length of the story.
I'd also recommend Anthony's Flaunders. It redefines the literary war novel. A pity she hasn't written anything new in some time.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 27, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Chapter One. Break out the Likastones.
This book was originally out in hard cover and may still be available from First Books.
Beagle is a nifty police procedural set against an alien backdrop. Holloway is haunted and sad. Beagle - an enigma to all but himself. Who killed Holloway's wife? What force is behind the revolution on Tennyson? The answer is linked in the mind of a dead detective bound to the body of an android. But Beagle may have ghosts of his own to contend with.
One of Anthony's best. Check it out.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
This book came highly recommended to me from an extremely literate friend. It was my first experience with a Patricia Anthony book, but I'm fairly well read in science fiction overall.
If you're looking for some good ol' comfy sci-fi reading with a couple big plot twists to spice up the read, this book is a great place to start - at 240 pages, it's a quick read. Also, like all (well, most) good science fiction, this story rightly focuses on the unfolding human drama (in the context of new technologies) and one of the main devices used to keep you on the edge of your seat is the strongly protagonist-centric view of the world. A tangled weave of interplanetary political intrigue, religion, sexuality, and J. Edgar Hoover style police state paranoia add a lot of texture to the story.
- Holloway's (the protagonist) inner tragedy, while overly analytical, rang true from a basic emotional standpoint.
- Anthony's rendition of an emotionally unbalanced man's view of love and sex shows an refreshingly perspicacious view.
- The book tries to accomplish an awful lot in 240 pages. The reader gets just a brush with the texture alluded to above. For example, the Beagle, an artifically created personality construct, could have been developed more. Compare cf. the constructs in "Nature's End" by Strieber and Kunetka.
- For me, this book was uncomfortably similar to "Caves of Steel" by Asimov. Earth in political turmoil with an advanced off-Earth human colony? A sci-fi detective story? A government dictated artificial economic stratification of society with overpopulation of Earth? Constructs vs. robots?
Takeaway: it keeps you in suspense, it's got some very interesting plot twists, you won't be sorry you read it, but it won't change your life either (rather, it didn't change mine).
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