Reviews by Gary Thomas

Highland Ballad

by Christopher Leadem

I really liked this one, though it isn't (as the heading reads) post-1930. It's set in 18th Century Scotland, a beautiful and tragic time if you know your history.

Anyway, it starts with Mary Scott, 17 years old, searching for the ghost of her brother, killed at the epic Battle of Culloden. Her mother, a Druid witch, has other plans for her. Her father (unbeknownst to himself or her) is the English overlord. Once he discovers her existence, he clearly can't allow it.

There's an internal mystery I can't reveal or it will take away a lot of the book's appeal. Let's just say it's not unlike a certain incident in Tolkien's "Lord of the Rings," to which it has a similar feel.

Mary is captured by her father, and placed in the highest cell of his castle tower. Two men, an Englishman and a Highlander, who would otherwise hate each other, are determined to rescue her.

It kept me going, and guessing, all the way. My only complaint is that I wanted more. But if you like short novels (I do), this one's tough to beat.

Reviewed on 2007.05.29

Oberheim (Voices)

by Christopher Leadem

I liked it. I can see how the other reviewer might think it was too intense, but I didn't. It's just a hard look at war, which is never pretty, told in a compelling way.

The multiple viewpoints take a while to get used to, as the scene switches from one battleground to another. But I liked it. It's like "The Illustrated Man" by Ray Bradbury in this way, and you do get to know the characters well enough without getting tired of them.

My only objection was the epilogue, which (I think) is some kind of symbolic life of Hemingway. I couldn't really understand it, though it too was very visual and intense.

Reviewed on 2007.02.09

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