Today we feature a review of a classic Philip Jose Farmer adventure wherein he does a pastiche of Tarzan and is one of the stories that led up to his other novels featuring characters who might have been related and read as pulp fiction by our fathers. We also have a futuristic thriller by Peter Hamilton and a Viking paranormal from Paul Lewis.
A Feast Unknown
Philip José Farmer
Titan Books, $12.95
In 1968 septuagenarian Lord Grandrith looks back at his life as he enjoys living in Africa looking like a thirty year old person. He learned early on that he is the illegitimate son of Jack the Ripper and over the years has become almost as famous in his own right as the Apeman, Lord of the Jungle.
Grandrith is also aware that he becomes aroused when he kills so he must control his urges to complete the opponent’s death. His greatest adversary is legendary Doc Caliban, the Man of Bronze and Champion of Justice, who shares with Grandrith the secret of eternal life. They know they will one day meet with only one of them walking away. However, to the chagrin of both of them before they can have that ultimate climax that each desires, each obsesses over identifying who the third party foe(s) manipulating them into their coveted duel to the death.
This is a reprint of an exciting late 1960s satirical thriller that retains its controversial freshness with the ripping away of the goodness mythos of two pulp fiction heroes. Filled with gore and more gore and with the twist of the Apeman’s sexual appetite, fans who appreciate something different will want to read Lord Grandrith’s engaging memoir. Harriet Klausner
Great North Road
Peter F. Hamilton
Del Rey, $30.00
In 2004 Kane North uses family money to hire the best geneticists to work a cloning program. Over the next few years three clones of him are born with severe defects. In 2012, triplet clones Augustine, Bartram and Constantine are born. In 2020, Wan Hi Chan’s theory of trans-spacial connection proves instant travel as doable leading to links to rival interstellar programs. In 2034 Augustine, Bartram and Constantine form the Northumberland Interstellar Corps. However, by 2087 the siblings split up with Augustine remaining at Northumberland while his brothers leave the firm becoming rivals.
In 2121 on the planet St. Libra someone slaughters Bartram and his family. The police arrest Angela Tramelo who is convicted and given a life sentence; she insisted she was innocent and that an alien killed them. Over two decades later, an eerily similar slaughter of a North clone occurs in Newcastle, England. Detective Sidney Hurst leads the investigation that he knows will prove a career killer regardless of what he does. He and others also know Angela has the perfect state sponsored alibi. She is freed to search the planetary jungles for the deadly predator as the only survivor of the alien psychopath while he investigates the slaying in England.
This is an exciting futuristic thriller that is at its best when focusing on clone creation, instant interstellar travel and a great murder mystery in Newcastle and on St Libra. The Zanth assault on human colonies at first seems out of place as if Peter F. Hamilton switch the theme, but he shows his skills as an author when he cleverly brings everything together in a taut science fiction detective tale. Harriet Klausner
In 1085 AD Eric returns to Iceland after an exile insisting there is a better warmer land to the west. His old traveling buddy Kallock, accompanied by his wife Callie and their nine year old son Darien, joins him on his quest. Diligent Kallock becomes concerned as the numbers going with them grow out of control with 500 men, women and children. He also pleads with hedonistic Eric and others to end their visits to the women in taverns before a disease decimates them. Not long afterward the sickness spread until many die including Callie. With her death, father and son grow apart as she was the loving bind between them. They complete the journey to Greenland and over the next decade Darien and Eric’s son Leif become friends though their temperament differ as each take after their respective father.
Stephen Santos and Rachel Davenport arrive at the hall in Greenland to hire the best shop and crew from the legendary Eric the Red. He offers to pay a fee and supplies while Eric volunteers his son and Darien. Not long afterward her brother Randall and another man arrive. On the journey Darien falls in love with Rachel, but she belongs to someone else. Soon Darien finds his Viking loyalty shook over Rachel as he also confronts vampires and werewolves.
Immortal Betrayal is an exhilarating refreshing Viking paranormal thriller that gives new meaning to the Dark Ages. The story line is fast-paced with a strong cast especially the two generations of BFFs, Rachel and the supernatural. Paul Lewis provides a fabulous historical fantasy filled with twists and plenty of action and a forbidden love. Harriet Klausner