- File Size: 785 KB
- Print Length: 270 pages
- Publisher: Brendan McNally (December 31, 2013)
- Publication Date: December 31, 2013
- Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B004VXK1LK
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,964,919 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
Friend of the Devil Kindle Edition
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Top customer reviews
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I fully enjoyed this genre-defying tale, more so than Germanica (which I think was cut down too much for publication, perhaps someday we'll see a fuller version). Brendan's voice as an author starts to come through loud and clear here, and a captivating voice it is. None of the genres that this COULD fit in, that parts of this story DO fit in, comprise my usual reading, but the story grabs you and pulls you along, and at some point you just give up preconceptions about what SHOULD be happening in order to fit this or that predictable literary convention and resign yourself to just not knowing where you're going. In an age of far-too-predictable cookie-cutter novels where the genre itself seems most often to dictate the plot line, this is not a bad thing. It pays off in the same way that surrendering control to a roller coaster pays off, and the experience gained is similarly hard to describe.
I've given Brendan a hard time about a couple of anachronisms I may have spotted, and some quibbles about firearm terms, but in an overall sense such objections seem silly in a story like this. The story has some fantasy elements that require suspension of disbelief that dwarfs such details, and Brendan pulls that off. This is no fairy tale set in a fairy tale world, what he accomplishes is a story that feels at most times so firmly grounded in reality that when the fantasy elements are introduced there's little chance for the reader to be able to disengage. I found this reminiscent of some of Tim Power's masterful transitions.
Maybe the only really valid complaint I have comes from knowing Brendan personally and sensing which parts of the author seem to be subdued. While he has begun to let his sense of the absurd off the leash in "Friend", not enough of the delightful sense of humor I know has appeared yet. In relaxed conversation one gets glimpses of an ironic potential perhaps akin to vintage Robert Sheckly.
It could just be that he hasn't considered either of his first two novels as an appropriate vehicle for it. Germanica may have been set in too powerful a period to risk trivializing, and perhaps mixing more humor into the sometimes-absurd balance of strange elements that is "Friend" would have endangered that balance. Still, I can't help but hope that a more capacious vehicle for that part of his personality appears soon. We need a character capable of hosting a little more of the voice of Brendan McNally the glib raconteur, who skewers pretension as effortlessly as a fencing master and makes combining insight and levity seem easy and natural. In other words, still more of his "voice" as an author.
If the God and the Devil are one and the same (or opposite sides of the coin) AND they played a complicated game of chess with people's lives AND there was no point to anything in life THEN this would be the perfect book.
I love strange books as a whole but this was either too strange or not strange enough. This just went round in circles (thank you Billy Preston) and ultimately went nowhere. I got there really fast though!
Wanted to love it, could not hate it, just was neither one or the other.
Oh, yeah. It's a pretty good story. The author takes license with history, it really didn't happen this way, but it could have. That is, if you believe in God and the Devil. Which the hero doesn't. Even after he has met both.
If you like historical fiction with a lot of "tongue in cheek" definitely check out this book!
Hard to disbelieve.
Loved "Germania" too. Very Vonnegut!
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