RogerBW's Blog

Silver Bullet, Melissa Scott and Jo Graham 21 September 2020

2013 historical fantasy, third in the Order of the Air series. In the winter of 1932, planes are crashing in the Rockies, and a Greek medallion being valued in New York may be worth vastly more than it seems.

And mostly this works. It's a step back in pace from Steel Blues, since much of it is clearly setting things up for later in the series, or completing character arcs that had been started earlier. Yes, all right, it's a bit "everything will be all right if you trust the found-family that accepts and loves you" but one could certainly do worse.

Many reviewers get excited to see the elderly Nikola Tesla as a character here, but that's the easy part because everyone thinks they know about him already; much more challenging, and interesting to me, is the use of Willam Dudley Pelley, leader of the Silver Shirts, America's answer to the SA, as a principal villain here. (This is particularly effective because Pelley was himself an esotericist; this is the first time in the series we've seen magicians with politics opposed to those of the protagonists, rather than merely out for themselves.) And of course in 1932 it's still Stalin and communism that people worry about.

Where the story flags is in its split of setting between Colorado and New York, with one of the characters isolated for most of the book. This is a team that works better together, not just in terms of their own satisfaction but in terms of the reader's enjoyment, and once everyone gets back together things are much more satisfactory.

This series isn't a classic of literature, but it's enjoyable without reaching to heights which it knows it can't attain. There's good 1930s flying action and a decent bit of magic too.

[Buy this at Amazon] and help support the blog. ["As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases."]

Previous in series: Steel Blues | Series: Order of the Air | Next in series: Wind Raker

Comments on this post are now closed. If you have particular grounds for adding a late comment, comment on a more recent post quoting the URL of this one.

Tags 1920s 1930s 1940s 1950s 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s 2000s 2010s 3d printing action advent of code aeronautics aikakirja anecdote animation anime army astronomy audio audio tech aviation base commerce battletech beer boardgaming book of the week bookmonth chain of command children chris chronicle church of no redeeming virtues cold war comedy computing contemporary cornish smuggler cosmic encounter coup covid-19 crime cthulhu eternal cycling dead of winter doctor who documentary drama driving drone ecchi economics en garde espionage essen 2015 essen 2016 essen 2017 essen 2018 essen 2019 essen 2022 essen 2023 existential risk falklands war fandom fanfic fantasy feminism film firefly first world war flash point flight simulation food garmin drive gazebo genesys geocaching geodata gin gkp gurps gurps 101 gus harpoon historical history horror hugo 2014 hugo 2015 hugo 2016 hugo 2017 hugo 2018 hugo 2019 hugo 2020 hugo 2022 hugo-nebula reread in brief avoid instrumented life javascript julian simpson julie enfield kickstarter kotlin learn to play leaving earth linux liquor lovecraftiana lua mecha men with beards mpd museum music mystery naval noir non-fiction one for the brow opera parody paul temple perl perl weekly challenge photography podcast politics postscript powers prediction privacy project woolsack pyracantha python quantum rail raku ranting raspberry pi reading reading boardgames social real life restaurant reviews romance rpg a day rpgs ruby rust scala science fiction scythe second world war security shipwreck simutrans smartphone south atlantic war squaddies stationery steampunk stuarts suburbia superheroes suspense television the resistance the weekly challenge thirsty meeples thriller tin soldier torg toys trailers travel type 26 type 31 type 45 vietnam war war wargaming weather wives and sweethearts writing about writing x-wing young adult
Special All book reviews, All film reviews
Produced by aikakirja v0.1