THE GIRL FROM AVIGNON

From the The Arameus Chronicle series

In a futuristic society divided by power and class, an audacious plan unfolds to restore justice and equality in this dystopian novel.

As the story opens, Ansley Brightmore, a reclusive professor, approaches the center where he will receive a treatment designed to extend his life. Years earlier, a catastrophic financial collapse left the world in shambles, and a group of men known as the Overseers rose to power and reorganized society according to a strict hierarchy. Citizens of Arameus were divided into “Nephites,” the social elite (of which Brightmore is a member), and “Natural Born,” the enslaved workers. Nanocyte treatments offer eternal life to the Nephites alone. At a place called the Institute, Brightmore takes an interest in the work of a young academic, Arian Cyannah, who’s developing a bot that could render nanocyte treatments obsolete—and correct the Overseers’ injustice. The Overseers, meanwhile, have also taken an interest in Brightmore’s activities, and one of their Consulates, Tiberius Septus, has a plan to help stop them. Septus asks his consort, Kaiya, a beautiful Natural Born, to recruit Cyannah as a spy for the Overseers. Cyannah soon finds his loyalties torn between Brightmore and the alluring Kaiya. Other supporting characters include Jabari Stoudamyre, a gifted athlete who’s loyal to Brightmore’s cause, and Matthew Conway, Cyannah’s student, who uses his research to his own advantage. When Cyannah discovers that his bot is doing unintended things, his mission takes on added urgency and danger. The treatments offer the promise of extending a person’s life forever—but they’re also ripe for exploitation. Debut authors Arla and Compton’s ambitious first novel in the Arameus Chronicle combines fast-paced action with a thoughtful exploration of the ethical implications of technological advances. Arameus is vividly rendered, from the social order that dictates every facet of a citizen’s life to popular sports and leisure activities. The story offers a trio of strong protagonists, and their actions give the novel momentum: Brightmore is the driving force behind most of the action, and repeated flashbacks offer glimpses into a tragedy that changed his life forever. Cyannah is shown to be a talented scientist who accepts his place in society until he meets someone who challenges his views. Meanwhile, Kaiya uses her wiles to survive, yet her loyalties remain elusive. The supporting characters are similarly well-drawn. Overall, the propulsive narrative offers a number of surprising and rewarding plot twists, anchored by an examination of the use—and potential for abuse—of the nanocyte treatments. Arla and Compton use a number of different viewpoints to lay out how the treatment evolved from a promising scientific breakthrough to a means by which the Overseers gained control over an entire society. However, they also balance the philosophical issues with well-constructed action sequences, and these culminate in an energetic and suspenseful climax that helps set the stage for a planned sequel. A provocative first installment in a promising sci-fi series that may also appeal to fans of techno-thrillers.

Pub Date: Feb. 9, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-9897544-4-6

Page Count: 453

Publisher: Holland Brown Books

Review Posted Online: July 7, 2017

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD

A first novel, this is also a first person account of Scout's (Jean Louise) recall of the years that led to the ending of a mystery, the breaking of her brother Jem's elbow, the death of her father's enemy — and the close of childhood years. A widower, Atticus raises his children with legal dispassion and paternal intelligence, and is ably abetted by Calpurnia, the colored cook, while the Alabama town of Maycomb, in the 1930's, remains aloof to their divergence from its tribal patterns. Scout and Jem, with their summer-time companion, Dill, find their paths free from interference — but not from dangers; their curiosity about the imprisoned Boo, whose miserable past is incorporated in their play, results in a tentative friendliness; their fears of Atticus' lack of distinction is dissipated when he shoots a mad dog; his defense of a Negro accused of raping a white girl, Mayella Ewell, is followed with avid interest and turns the rabble whites against him. Scout is the means of averting an attack on Atticus but when he loses the case it is Boo who saves Jem and Scout by killing Mayella's father when he attempts to murder them. The shadows of a beginning for black-white understanding, the persistent fight that Scout carries on against school, Jem's emergence into adulthood, Calpurnia's quiet power, and all the incidents touching on the children's "growing outward" have an attractive starchiness that keeps this southern picture pert and provocative. There is much advance interest in this book; it has been selected by the Literary Guild and Reader's Digest; it should win many friends.

Pub Date: July 11, 1960

ISBN: 0060935464

Page Count: 323

Publisher: Lippincott

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1960

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

ONE DAY IN THE LIFE OF IVAN DENISOVICH

While a few weeks ago it seemed as if Praeger would have a two month lead over Dutton in their presentation of this Soviet best seller, both the "authorized" edition (Dutton's) and the "unauthorized" (Praeger's) will appear almost simultaneously. There has been considerable advance attention on what appears to be as much of a publishing cause celebre here as the original appearance of the book in Russia. Without entering into the scrimmage, or dismissing it as a plague on both your houses, we will limit ourselves to a few facts. Royalties from the "unauthorized" edition will go to the International Rescue Committee; Dutton with their contracted edition is adhering to copyright conventions. The Praeger edition has two translators and one of them is the translator of Doctor Zhivago Dutton's translator, Ralph Parker, has been stigmatized by Praeger as "an apologist for the Soviet regime". To the untutored eye, the Dutton translation seems a little more literary, the Praeger perhaps closer to the rather primitive style of the original. The book itself is an account of one day in the three thousand six hundred and fifty three days of the sentence to be served by a carpenter, Ivan Denisovich Shukhov. (Solzhenitsyn was a political prisoner.) From the unrelenting cold without, to the conditions within, from the bathhouse to the latrine to the cells where survival for more than two weeks is impossible, this records the hopeless facts of existence as faced by thousands who went on "living like this, with your eyes on the ground". The Dutton edition has an excellent introduction providing an orientation on the political background to its appearance in Russia by Marvin Kalb. All involved in its publication (translators, introducers, etc.) claim for it great "artistic" values which we cannot share, although there is no question of its importance as a political and human document and as significant and tangible evidence of the de-Stalinization program.

Pub Date: June 15, 1963

ISBN: 0451228146

Page Count: 181

Publisher: Praeger

Review Posted Online: Oct. 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1963

Did you like this book?

more