Today’s book review comes from (where else?) the request of a reader. Sanne Wijker is a reader of mine who herself blogs over at athriftyhomemaker.blogspot.nl. She is the author of the book “The Long Way Home”. She dropped me a friendly e-mail asking if I’d give it a look. Me being me, I did.
Before I even made it to the table of contents, I found myself gazing at the lyrics of a Manowar song.
It actually did a pretty good job of setting the tone for what turned out to be a thrilling adventure novel.
The story begins with a brief introduction to the two central characters and allows for a steady glimpse of the fantasy world that Wijker has created. I quickly found myself taking a liking to the character of Lennart, though I had a sinking feeling that he was being set up to be an eventual antagonist, given that he was being presented as a cold and pragmatic figure. Needless to say, I felt great relief when it turned out that he was to be the main character of this tale after all.
“Oh, you are hopeless,” sighed Brian. “You never can be serious, never.
Think about your honor. That swine called you —.”
“An idiot, I know, but I think I can live with it, while in your opinion my honor demands me to challenge him to a fight, kill him and get executed. No, thanks. I don’t like the idea. I have only one year left to go and then I will be free as a bird and with money in the bank, too. I’d rather stay alive.”
It is hard not to like a man with perspective and restraint (and lest certain of my readers find that this description of Lennart paints him as an unsympathetic a hero, I would let them know that he very quickly comes to learn which moral lines he will and will not cross, and his pragmatism is often tempered by his unyielding adherence to his moral code).
Neoreactionary themes are not hard to find, if you’re into that sort of thing. Some of them were painted into the work with a hammer, not a brush.
“The locals made a pretty mess out of things, what with uncontrolled immigration leading to an ethnic conflict which they did nothing to prevent, irresponsible spending and all other ill-conceived policies; at least now they’ll get some semblance of order. I’m not going to lose my sleep at night because of it,” replied Lennart calmly. He ordered another drink.
Ever present in the background is the fantasy of well-run societies, which is a soothing indulgence that should resonate quite strongly with many of you.
This in mind, Wijker could learn to do with a bit of subtlety. Everyone is almost always unbelievably honest, and I do mean unbelievably. It frequently jumps out at you how pretty much no one in the book ever fails to be completely straightforward and direct when conversing with others. Still, if you take it as being a part of the world that has been built, it is not too jarring, though it never stops being a bit odd. Additionally, people sometimes behave in ways that don’t quite make sense, though it always moves the story along and so such oddities are quickly forgotten.
As for the actual plot itself, it winds and weaves and it only rarely fails to be absolutely thrilling. Though the record seems to skip on the phonograph every once in a while, the sound is crisp and smooth. This is an exciting story that was great fun to read. Bumps and twists and turns and oddities aside, the simple fact of the matter is that this is a rewarding book that when you finish it makes you feel glad to have read it.
Finally, some housekeeping: While I’ve certainly enjoyed this unofficial “book review week”, I must announce that I am no longer accepting requests for book reviews, for reasons that are perhaps a tad bittersweet.
Regular programing will resume unless otherwise stated.