on October 9, 2000
Far more "pro"s than "cons"--and the pros are more profound.
The cons can be got over quickly. The male POV falters occasionally ("her eyes flashed with magnificent scorn" is an awful romance novel cliche)and some of the arguments resolve as quick as TV sitcoms (in fact, the pacing was rather too much like TV--choppy) and the villain was rather one dimensional. But those don't throw you out of the story.
Pros: far outweighing the cons is the fact that Clough attempts an interesting blend of real contemporary life and skiffy "what if?"s. Edwin's immortality continues in this sequel to be interesting, and Clough doesn't flinch from considering the moral and ethical implications.
Also, in these days when it seems all mentions of Christians in fantasy mean "Here comes another fundie bigoted child molestor" or, even worse, the inevitable cartoon Evil Priest in red, an interesting character who happens to be Christian, and who tries to lead a Christian life, is really refreshing. Clough handles the religious questions with a light hand, permitting the reader to see what being religious is all about, but without preaching.
The book is worth buying in hardcover, and keeping for rereads.
Looking forward to her next.
on June 27, 2001
Seven years have passed since Rob Lewis obtained his power to bend minds to his will while Edwin Barbarosa gained immortality (see HOW LIKE A GOD). Rob now has family problems with his spouse Julianna, who feels he fails to support her needs. However, when three muggers attack Juliana, an outraged Rob mentally forces the three punks to jump into the Potomac.
Meanwhile Edwin is returning to Earth after a year on the moon, but the shuttle catches fire. All on board are dead except the immortal Edwin. He quickly becomes the only suspect in a closed-door mass murder mystery. However, that is the least of his troubles as Rob and Edwin's woes have just begun because a powerful individual knows about Edwin's immortality and plans experiments to obtain the secret.
DOORS OF DEATH AND LIFE is an exciting science fiction sequel that deeply digs into the use and potential abuse of power. Readers will believe that Rob and Edwin possess these non-human abilities by the way they use their power and the ethics questions that linger especially when Rob applies his talent. The villain seems more like Wile Coyote than a real individual, but his cartoonish manner does not hinder the basic premise that God-like powers should result in greater restraint. Though similar tales have been told in classic Star Trek and the Right Hand of God, Brenda Clough's latest novel will elate those science fiction fans that enjoy a complex moral story.
on July 26, 2000
by Michael Berry -- Sunday July 16 2000
Set in a time slightly different from our own, Brenda W. Clough's DOORS OF DEATH AND LIFE is a direct sequel to her last book, "How Like A God." She returns to the adventures of Rob Lewis, an ordinary carpenter with an extraordinary talent: the ability to alter the minds of anyone around him. Clough uses the legend of Gilgamesh as a springboard for a thriller that combines tropes from science fiction, spy novels and family drama. Lewis' best friend biologist Edwin Barbarossa hodls one of Gilgamesh's talismans of power, the Pearl of Immortality. For the past year he has been a colonist on the moon, and during his shuttle trip back to Earth something goes disastrously wrong. Everyone aboard except Edwin is killed. Alive when he should be dead, Edwin has some explaining to do. Rob must break him out of house arrest and convince his bosses that Edwin isn't a murderer. When a megalomanic billionaire gets wind of their combined powers, Rob and Ed must find a way of stopping him without compromising their beliefs about free will and the sanctity of human life. Clough takes a premise that might seem better suited for an "X-Men comic and gives it enough emotional heft and moral complexity to make a satisfying novel for adults. If the book's plotting is a bit choppy and the villain overly cartoonish, Clough makes up for those shortcomings by delivering a spot-on portrayal of modern marriage and family life. Because Edwin Barbarossa is both immortal and so likable, it's likely Clough will bring him back for further adventures.
on May 22, 2000
Nice job on the sequel. I enjoyed the pace and characterizations...there's a continual blending of real life situations (i.e. the raising of kids and the family issues it causes) with the struggles of having omnipotent power over all humanity. And having lived in the DC area, I also appreciate all the Northern Virgina/DC references....it adds to the realism of the story. Can't wait for your next book!