Ahoy there me mateys! This be the third book in me Ports for Plunder – 19 Books in 2019 list. I knew I wanted to read this alternative history sci-fi novel after reading about it in matey Lashaan @ bookidote’s awesome review. As he nicely puts it, “It might not be the most accessible story that you could pick up, but it is without a doubt enthralling and authentic.”
And aye, that be exactly what this was. The story takes place in an alternate 1938 where the dead are still very much a part of the affairs of the living. Summerland is a metropolis for the deceased. Be a good citizen and earn a Ticket to become a member of this city when ye die. Yer prior interests can still remain. Continue to run yer company. Talk to yer living loved ones. There are endless choices.
This book focuses on two characters. The first is a living agent named Rachel who works for the SIS. The second is Peter who is a resident of Summerland and has secret agendas. Rachel is wrapped up in conspiracy when she discovers there is a mole in the agency feeding secrets to the Russians. But instead of being rewarded for this intelligence, she is rebuffed for her womanly emotional delusions. But Rachel can’t let this information go and decides to find out the truth even if it ruins her career.
It is true that this book is hard to get into. Ye get tossed into the deep end with very little exposition. The concepts of Summerland and how they work did take a while to make any sense. I will admit that at least twice I contemplating giving up but I wasn’t sure if it was me mood or the writing that was the problem. Turns out that I needed to just let the thoughts and ideas percolate while reading. Because suddenly the story clicked and I was engrossed and had to know what happened next.
The spy story aspect of this novel was fun but the highlight really did become Summerland and the world-building that stems from it. From mundane tasks like document retrieval to more complex tasks like allowing ghosts the use of a medium’s body, the consequences were just so fascinating. And of course there is the threat of war looming and how Summerland affected politics were weird and cool. Plus I actually loved the ending!
This story won’t be for everyone because of the writing style. Some of the concepts like four dimensions and mathematical theorems might be hard to grasp as well but I am so glad that I read and finished it. Arrr!
Goodreads’ website has this to say about the novel:
From Hannu Rajaniemi, one of the most exciting science fiction writers in the last decade, comes an awe-inspiring account of the afterlife and what happens when it spills over into the world of the living
Loss is a thing of the past. Murder is obsolete. Death is just the beginning.
In 1938, death is no longer feared but exploited. Since the discovery of the afterlife, the British Empire has extended its reach into Summerland, a metropolis for the recently deceased.
Yet Britain isn’t the only contender for power in this life and the next. The Soviets have spies in Summerland, and the technology to build their own god.
When SIS agent Rachel White gets a lead on one of the Soviet moles, blowing the whistle puts her hard-earned career at risk. The spy has friends in high places, and she will have to go rogue to bring him in.
But how do you catch a man who’s already dead?
To visit the author’s twitter go to:
To buy the book go to:
To add to Goodreads go to:
Previous Reviews for Me 19 in 2019 Books