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Vika's Avenger Paperback – October 8, 2013
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About the Author
Lawrence Watt-Evans is the author of more than forty novels and over a hundred short stories (including the Hugo-winning "Why I Left Harry's All-Night Hamburgers") in the fantasy, science fiction, and horror fields. He lives in Takoma Park, Maryland, with his wife and an eccentric cat.
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David Gerrold creates an amazing and ancient world. There are ghosts, dwarves (but don't you dare call them dwarves, that is so insulting...), clones, slaves, master magicians/technicians/scientists, secret societies, rats, and a unique alien. All of this gathered primarily in one great city. Into this mix throw an untutored bumpkin who has never been to the big city, but wants to avenge the murder of his sister by a fast talking city slicker who took advantage of her. and you have the start of this story.
You would expect "magic" to be the biggest part of his adventures, but surprisingly, this is not the case. Instead he falls in with a couple who provide answers, but don't use magic. They use reason, logic, informers... and in fact their methods owe a lot more to Sherlock Holmes than to Gandalf.
This is the story of the search for Vika's killer, and the very odd culture of this ancient civilization gets thoroughly and expertly woven into that search.
It is well worth the read.
While technically a mystery, the main draw of the book is the setting itself, which is a decayed giant city in the far, far future. It doesn't quite fit any genre - it's not post apocalyptic per se, it's not in the dying earth genre, though it reminds me a bit of the Fading Suns (an RPG) universe. Ironically, for what is ostensibly a SF crime novel, the real mystery comes from the nature of the aliens and some of the strange cultures of the city.
Like a pilot, it has a satisfying conclusion, but leaves you wanting for more.
I am a fan of the author, but mostly his Ethshar novels. I was a Kickstarter backer (the money used to pay for the editing and cover) but was unsure if I'd actually like the novel, since his non-Ethshar stuff can be hit or miss. But this is definitely a hit in my book.
With Lawrence Watt-Evan's typical empathic characters, and logical approach to strange rules in the worlds he creates, Tulzik provides an excellent outsider's view into the strange world that embodies Arthur C. Clarke's maxim that any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. As well as dealing with the ruins and secrets of the past that have such a strong impact on the present, Tulzik must learn to navigate the different power groups, guilds, sorcerers and politics of the city armed with nothing more than his wits.
A thoroughly enjoyable read, and hopefully the start to a new series.
Vika's Avenger takes place in a distant time where high technology has come and gone, leaving behind artifacts and remnants which can still sometimes be used, or may still be dangerous. Wizards, skilled in the use of ancient 'tek,' build strange machines or engineer customized animals.
Tulzik, a young man from a rural town, has tracked his sister Vika's murderer to the great city of Ragbaan. In a strange city filled with millions of strangers (some human, some not), Tulzik must use every resource available to him to find justice for Vika.