BOOK & BLOG
October 16, 2005
Book of the Week: Paths Not Taken by Simon Green (Ace)
I met the English writer Simon Green at the World Science Fiction Convention in Boston. Simon and I share an agent, Joshua Bilmes (who has other great clients like Lee Killough, Elizabeth Moon, and John Moore). A group of us had a wonderful meal together at an Indian restaurant, where Simon was by turns disarming, startling, profane, loud, and thoughtful but always entertaining.
His Nightside series is like Simon; beginning with Something from the Nightside several years ago, Simons been writing this wonderful, frightening, violent series of books about a world where the day never comes, where its always three in the morning, where magic is the norm and tourists carouse at their own risk. His latest Nightside novel, Paths Not Taken, continues the series with all its earmarks intact.
The protagonist of the novels, John Taylor, is widely known and feared throughout the Nightside, which is chock full of terrifying creatures. John Taylor has amazing abilities and he is almost completely ruthless; but he has an equally strong sense of right and wrong, and he is just barely on the side of right. Loyal to his friends and dangerous to his foes (who are many), John Taylor can be hired to find things in the Nightside. Sometimes regular humans employ him, but from time to time his employers are things that never were human. John has a personal quest, too; he wants to know who his mother was, and why the Nightside was created. In Paths Not Taken, he achieves his goal.
I highly recommend this whole series, and the five books that comprise it are all available in paperback (with the most amazing covers) from Ace. I do think it would be better if you start at the beginning, though all the books can stand alone. The series is richer if you meet Johns few friends (like Shotgun Suzie) from the beginning.
Thanks to all of you, GRAVE SIGHT is number 24 on the New York Times Bestseller list this week. I never expected the first book of a new series to make the list, and I am totally surprised and delighted.
If youre a fan of the Sookie books, therell be big news coming your way in the next couple of weeks.
This past week, I went to see my mother, who is my only remaining immediate family. (My grandparents are long gone, my father died this year, my brother and his wife died ten years ago.) My mother will celebrate her eightieth birthday this November. She is my hero. She is not one of these hale and hearty seniors who take hiking trips and power walk in the morning; my mother has serious physical problems. She is bearing them with grace and intelligence. Mother cant see, and she has emphysema. She doesnt whine and she doesnt blame the world. She is grateful for help, but embarrassed she needs it. She enjoys the visits of old friends and church members. She cooks for her friends who have other disabilities, because thats what she can still do. Mother and her caregiver take casseroles and cakes to this house or that, as she sees a need. I think shes made a million cookies in her life, and pots of soup without counting.
I hope I have the courage to grow old like this.
As long as Im talking about my family, which I dont intend to do often, please do one thing for me, and this is even more important than buying my books, so you know I mean it!!
If you dont have a smoke alarm up, GO BUY ONE RIGHT NOW. Install it and put batteries in it. If you dont feel capable of installing it yourself, get a friend to do it for you. Replace the batteries every New Years Day, as part of your New Year routine. Smoke alarms are cheap and reliable. THIS WILL SAVE YOUR LIFE.
After my brother and his wife died in a house fire, we found a smoke alarm -- still in a box -- under their couch.
® 2010 Charlaine Harris