About the Book
Arthur C. Clarke Award winner Tade Thompson makes a triumphant return to science fiction with this unforgettable vision of humanity’s future in the chilling emptiness of space.
The colony ship Ragtime docks in the Lagos system, having travelled light years from home to bring one thousand sleeping souls to safety among the stars.
Some of the sleepers, however, will never wake – and a profound and sinister mystery unfolds aboard the gigantic vessel. Its skeleton crew are forced to make decisions that will have repercussions for all of humanity’s settlements – from the scheming politicians of Lagos station, to the colony planet of Bloodroot, to other far flung systems and indeed Earth itself.
About the Author
Tade Thompson is the author of Rosewater, which was the winner of the 2019 Arthur C. Clarke Award, the inaugural winner of the Nommo Award and a John W. Campbell finalist. His Shirley Jackson Award-shortlisted novella The Murders of Molly Southbourne has recently been optioned for screen adaptation. Born in London to Yoruba parents, he lives and works on the south coast of England.
Praise for Tade Thompson
‘Readers looking for a smart sci-fi mystery should snap this up’ – Publishers Weekly on Far from the Light of Heaven
‘This series is going to be addictive. See you on the other side’ – Stylist on Rosewater
‘Hard-edged and utterly compelling’ – i newspaper on Rosewater
‘Exciting new SF is everywhere, with writers of Nigerian heritage making a particular splash: most notably Deji Bryce Olukotun and Hugo-winner Nnedi Okorafor. With this stellar debut, Thompson takes his rightful place in this company’ – Guardian on Rosewater
‘Hugely satisfying . . . a darkly beautiful gem’ – SFX on Rosewater
‘Smart. Gripping. Fabulous!’ – Ann Leckie on Rosewater
‘Mesmerising. There are echoes of Neuromancer and Arrival in here, but this astonishing debut is beholden to no-one’ – M. R. Carey on Rosewater
What I Thought
For fans of the Illuminae Files, Skyward, Aurora Cycle, The Martian, Firefly, The Loneliest Girl in the Universe and Locked Door Mysteries.
We join the story with First mate Captain Michelle “Shell” Campion pre-mission, stuck in quarantine and saying goodbye to family. She lives in a time where human pilots are pretty much defunct and on board as a tick box exercise. The real Pilots are the AIs and they never go wrong – until they do! I loved the initial exchange between her and AI Ragtime and their discussion of poetry.
Woken from Dreamstate, Shell comes across a disturbing scene – one which when reading actually gave me the shivers – and she sends a distress call which investigator Fin is sent to respond to, despite us learning he’s been on gardening leave from work.
Already we know much about our two protagonists and their lives but also have many questions yet to answer – what made Shell volunteer to give up 20 years of her life? What trouble did Fin get in at work?
Some of the other point of view characters are introduced here too – only by name to start. One of them we are told we won’t be meeting but the ship’s AI – Ragtime – describes her as intense, yet another character refers to her as Odiferous so you just know she’ll make an appearance. But will she live up to her introduction?
Although it starts as a Locked Door as we get introduced more to the different characters and the universe the story becomes much more sprawling. With potential for more in this world though I’m unclear if this will be part of a series.
I found the author’s writing really accessible and engaging and how immediately real he made all of the characters feel – even the artificial ones. I will definitely be checking out his other work now.
If you liked any of the books/films/shows I mention above then I really recommend checking this one out.
Thanks to Tracey at Compulsive Readers and Orbit books for the gifted copy for the purposes of an honest review. Check out the rest of the tour here.
About the Book
In the fires of World War II, a child must save his people from darkness…
Ten-year-old Uriel has always been an outcast. Born mute in a Jewish village known for its choir, he escapes into old stories of his people, stories of angels and monsters. But when the fires of the Holocaust consume his village, he learns that the stories he writes in his golden notebook are terrifyingly real.
In the aftermath of the attack, Uriel is taken in by Uwe, a kind-hearted linguist forced to work for the commander of the local Nazi Police, the affably brutal Major Brandt. Uwe wants to keep Uriel safe, but Uriel can’t stay hidden. The angels of his tales have come to him with a dire message: Michael, guardian angel of the Jewish people, is missing. Without their angel, the Jewish people are doomed, and Michael’s angelic brethren cannot search for him in the lands corrupted by Nazi evil.
With the lives of millions at stake, Uriel must find Michael and free him from the clutches of the Angel of Death…even if that means putting Uwe in mortal danger.
The Book of Uriel is a heartbreaking blend of historical fiction and Jewish folklore that will enthrall fans of The Book Thief and The World That We Knew.
About the Author
Elyse Hoffman strives to tell historical tales with new twists: she loves to meld WWII and Jewish history with fantasy, folklore, and the paranormal. She has written six works of Holocaust historical fiction: the five books of The Barracks of the Holocaust and The Book of Uriel.
What I Thought
This historical fantasy is set in Poland. It opens with pretty distressing scenes and moves on to meld the trauma of the Holocaust with Jewish folklore and fantasy and explores questions of humanity and righteousness.
The main characters Uriel and Uwe and Major Brandt are all fully realised, the two adults being suitably conflicted. The prose is beautiful and the plot is intriguing.
A couple of slight issues that may be because I read an Advanced and unedited copy. The chapters were really long and there was some head hopping in some of the scenes, switching back and forth between character POV.
But to me this was reminiscent of The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, the Diary of Anne Frank, Pan’s Labyrinth and another film I can’t mention because it would be a spoiler. The blend of stark reality and fantasy adventure works well. Given the subject matter this is a fairly heavy read at times but the focus on the stories and mythology in The Book of Uriel adds a different layer of complexity.
Thanks to Dave at The Write Reads and the author for a gifted eARC for the purposes of an honest review. Do follow the rest of the tour using #TheBookOfUriel on Twitter/Instagram.