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Something More Than Night by [Tregillis, Ian]
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3.8 out of 5 stars 55 customer reviews

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Length: 305 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Editorial Reviews

Review

“Superlatives seem superfluous. Instead...wow. Just-wow.” ―Kirkus Reviews

About the Author

IAN TREGILLIS is the author of a triptych of alternate history series, Bitter Seeds, The Coldest War and Necessary Evil. He lives near Santa Fe, New Mexico, where he works as a physicist at Los Alamos National Laboratory. In addition, he is a member of the George R. R. Martin Wild Cards writing collective.


Product Details

  • File Size: 1235 KB
  • Print Length: 305 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books; Reprint edition (December 3, 2013)
  • Publication Date: December 3, 2013
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00DA6XMOC
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #145,572 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
"Something More Than Night" by Ian Tregillis is a wonderful, razor tight combination of noir and physics-both meta and quantum.
When Ian first posted the idea for the novel on his blog in February of 2012, I thought it sounded great as I am very much a fan of Chandler and my expectations were high. I was not let down at all. The book is fantastic; the writing is lovely.

We begin with the death of the angel Gabriel. Gabriel was one of the Seraphim and was very dead as his reentry set the sky aglow and drifting bits cause an odd snow in Australia. Bayliss, one of our narrators notes this and reminisces about Gabriel that:

" He wasn’t just lovely, he was the kind of lovely that could make a bishop stomp his miter and curse a long blue streak on Easter Sunday."

Bayliss is also an angel although he has bummed about on Earth and has adopted the mannerisms of a hard-boiled detective. Hard boiled, but like the best of them, he seems to have a soft spot for women in a tight fix and a desire for knight-errantry. That and a touch of rye in his coffee.

During the light show of Gabriel's fall, Bayliss clues us in to why the humans moving around him with downcast eyes aren't noticing much:

"But nobody looks up anymore. That stopped soon after the last satellites died. In the minds of most monkeys, thirty years of meteor showers was weak tea compared to the loss of decent long-term weather forecasts."

This also gives us a nice piece of world-building. The story happens in the not too distant future (50 or so years I would guess) and there has been a war that destroyed the satellites and prevents any new ones from the debris layer.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Bayliss is both a nickel-grabbing shamus and an angel. Mollie is a hot red-head out on the town with her brother in Melbourn. Because of the death of Gabriel, someone has to be promoted to fill the hole left by Gabrielle's absence and Mollie is the lucky mortal picked by Bayliss for the job.

But who killed Gabriel? And why are mortals getting plenary indulgences? And why is the plenum suddenly forming topological abnormalities that none of the angelic host has ever witnessed?

Unfortunately, for me, the set-up is better than the delivery. The author, Ian Tregillis, forms the conceit of presenting Bayliss as a down on his luck private detective hailing from the 1930s. Bayliss's dialogue is nothing but Hard Boiled Detective slang from the 1930's - "roundheels" and "loogans" and "doll" and "frail" - and the radio in the diner that passes as his hang-out - his personally designed bit of heaven (called in this book a "magisterium") - is perpetually playing a game involving Joe Dimaggio. This can lead to some fun bits such as:

//"Better get some nails, doll. Your math isn't bad but that last step is loose. Someone's going to trip on it."//

Tregillis, Ian (2013-12-03). Something More Than Night (Kindle Locations 5267-5268). Tom Doherty Associates. Kindle Edition.

Do it mentally in the voice of Humphrey Bogart and you've got gold.

Unfortunately, it gets old after a while. By 75% of the way into the book I was entirely annoyed and fed up with Bayliss and his constant Hard Boiled Detective cliches.

Fortunately, by 80% of the way into the book, the reason for this idiom is given a plausible reason within the structure of the book, and the book redeemed itself to the extent of my willingness to give it a marginal "It's Okay.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Much like the character of Bayliss and Ian Tregillis' explanation of the Christian angelic hierarchy (what Tregillis calls the "ninefold celestial hierarchy"), the novel begins and ends with a clever conceit but falls short of soul and substance.

Great literature is defined by characters you come to know and love. You rejoice with their joys, you weep at their sorrows, you mourn their death. There are no loveable characters in Tregillis' novel, only the conceit of a fallen angel playing to the script of a gumshoe detective and allusions to Raymond Chandler and Philip Marlowe.

The novel was didactic more often than it was enjoyable, going to great lengths to explain the angelic hierarchy described by Pseudo-Dionysius (On the Celestial Hierarchy) and Thomas Aquinas (Summa Theologica). Unlike Aquinas, Tregillis is no intellectual, philosopher or theologian, but content to rehash and repeat descriptions without interpretation. Mistaking Tregillis for Chandler would be like mistaking smoke for the cigar... wholly unsatisfying compared to the source.

In the end, "Something More than Night" is an interesting conceit devoid of a soul. It lacks the philosophy of Aquinas. It lacks the heart of Chandler. It's an interesting novel that is more gristle than meat.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
(no spoilers)

This is one of those novels that blows your mind. I’ve never read anything like Something More Than Night by Ian Tregillis. I was a huge fan of his Milkweed Tryptych novels and was excited to read this book as well. The style of Something More Than Night reaches for the stars, combining old school hardboiled detective noir (Dashiell Hammett or Raymond Chandler) with the concept of Heaven as described by Thomas Aquinas.

The book starts with the death of the arch angel Gabriel, and follows Bayliss, a cynical fallen angel with an over the top Philip Marlowe fetish. I think I was first exposed to the famous private detective, Marlowe in the 1946 Humphrey Bogart movie, “The Big Sleep.” As I read this book I pictured Bogart as Bayliss and heard the prose in Bogart’s “Marlowe” voice. It was awesome. The audio book would be amazing.

The twists and turns in this book are second to none as Bayliss investigates the murder of the arch angel Gabriel, and “mentors” a new addition to the angelic host, poor Molly, who is the other point of view character. I found the mystery quite fascinating, and you really have to think sometimes, as the concepts are not elementary. Tregillis is a physicist in real life and goes into some detail regarding certain concepts, but I could just read over the stuff I didn’t understand.

The real beauty in Something More Than Night is naturally the interesting characters and the near future Earth setting. I was transported to a place I’ve never been before, though it was quite familiar, and I loved the expertly written prose.

If you’re a fan of detective novels, the film or literary noir genre, this novel will blow your mind.

Paul Genesse
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