Author: Gareth L. Powell
Series: Ack-Ack Macaque
Publisher: Solaris, US - December 18, 2012 (eBook)
US - December 25, 2012 (print)
Format: Mass Market Paperback, 416 pages
Price: $7.99 (print)
Genre: Science Fiction/Alternate History
ISBN: 9781781080603 (print)
Review Copy: Provided by Solaris
In 1944, as waves of German ninjas parachute into Kent, Britain’s best hopes for victory lie with a Spitfire pilot codenamed ‘Ack-Ack Macaque.’ The trouble is, Ack-Ack Macaque is a cynical, one-eyed, cigar-chomping monkey, and he’s starting to doubt everything, including his own existence.
A century later, in a world where France and Great Britain merged in the late 1950s and nuclear-powered Zeppelins circle the globe, ex-journalist Victoria Valois finds herself drawn into a deadly game of cat and mouse with the man who butchered her husband and stole her electronic soul. In Paris, after taking part in an illegal break-in at a research laboratory, the heir to the British throne goes on the run. And all the while, the doomsday clock ticks towards Armageddon...
I can't remember the last time that I had so much fun reading a novel. Gareth L. Powell has penned a fantastic Alternate History/Science Fiction novel with memorable characters and a wonderfully inventive plot.
As noted in the book description, the novel is set both during World War II and in the latter half of the 21st Century in a world where Great Britain and France are under the British Monarchy*. I found the unified France and Britain concept in the novel extremely well done. It's really easy to accept the what-if of the world in Ack-Ack Macaque.
There is mystery, murder, intrigue, a runaway Prince, and scientists who think they are doing the right thing for humanity (we know where that leads). The novel moves at a breathtaking pace from place to place revealing ever more about the characters as well as the cause for the murders.
I can't say enough about the title character, Ack-Ack Macaque. He is simply superb. He's a simian of action, a larger than life hero! I adore him. Victoria, the Prince, and the other main characters were all appealing and interesting. They have difficult choices to make and you will root for them, as I did, to find the killer, figure out what is going on, and hopefully save the world.
There are some lovely touches in the novel - 1) alliterative names (e.g., Victoria Valois, Mindy Morris, and others) that fondly reminded me of comics and some of my favorite childhood cartoon shows; 2) news reports and blog posts, and 3) illuminating chapter headings.
Ack-Ack Macaque is over-the top and action-packed with an ending that is both exciting and ultimately satisfying. Gareth L. Powell has crafted a crisply written, engrossing and very entertaining novel.
A side note: The book includes extras at the end including the short story, Ack-Ack Macaque, that is the first appearance of the monkey Ack-Ack Macaque. It was published in Interzone and then in The Last Reef, a collection of short stories by Gareth L. Powell. I'm also happy to note that a sequel to Ack-Ack Macaque, Hive Monkey, will be coming in 2014!
*As noted in a recent interview with Mr. Powell, "union" talks between the two nations actually took place in the 1950s, but obviously the union did not occur.
Syria and Egypt were briefly united, so the idea of a Britain/France union is not so far out there.ReplyDelete