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House of Penance Paperback – January 24, 2017
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"Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress"
Is the world really falling apart? Is the ideal of progress obsolete? Cognitive scientist and public intellectual Steven Pinker urges us to step back from the gory headlines and prophecies of doom, and instead, follow the data: In seventy-five jaw-dropping graphs, Pinker shows that life, health, prosperity, safety, peace, knowledge, and happiness are on the rise. Learn more
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About the Author
Peter J. Tomasi is an American comic book editor and writer, best known for his work for DC Comics. As an editor, he oversaw numerous books featuring the Justice League, including books starring various members of that team, such as Batman, Aquaman, Martian Manhunter, Green Lantern and the Flash. As a writer, he has written books featuring Batman-related characters, such as Batman and Robin and The Outsiders, and Green Lantern-related books such as Blackest Night, Brightest Day and Green Lantern: Emerald Warriors.
Top customer reviews
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The premise is fine - the real Sarah Winchester spent twenty years and her share of the Winchester Arms fortune building a huge, gorgeous, weird house in San Jose, California. It's now a well-known and heavily visited tourist site - loaded with doors to nowhere, stairways to nothing, and so on. For this book we assume that Winchester was haunted by the ghosts of victims of Winchester rifles and built the house to keep those ghosts at bay and to provide a safe haven for the spirits of victims.
As far as story goes, we follow Sarah's descent into madness during the course of the construction. A lone former gunman stranger has ridden in to work on the house and he provides the outsider's view of what's going on. Sarah's coherence ebbs and flows. Various workmen offer interesting observations. Sometimes things happen. Everyone seems to have ghoulish flashbacks at one point or another. Ghosty visions appear - maybe only in Sarah's head or maybe "for real", there isn't any practical or narrative difference between the two. There's lots of tension, but no narrative tension and nothing to be resolved at the end.
So, it's a mood piece, a character study, and a series of mini-stories drawn from Sarah's fictional reimagined life and motivations. That's O.K.. As it turned out, Sarah was interesting enough, the incidents were interesting enough, and the overall mood and feel of the book was creative and gripping enough that I stayed for the entire show.
A lot of that is due to the drawing, pencils, inking and coloring. The blood tendrils that festoon each page got a little old, but almost every panel, splash page, and big scene had something interesting going for it. Sarah Winchester has a Gothic, Tuesday Addams, feel, and your eyes are drawn to her every time she's on the page. The House is a character as well, and great care has been taken to express the weird madness behind it. The ghosty/ghouly angle is a little less effective, for me, but the idea of spirits of killers and victims certainly gets across effectively.
So, fine art and ambitious and interesting narrative. This is a one of a kind effort, and I was generally pleasantly surprised by how immersive it was. (Please note that I received a free advance will-self-destruct-in-x-days Adobe Digital copy of this book without a review requirement, or any influence regarding review content should I choose to post a review. Apart from that I have no connection at all to either the author or the publisher of this book.)