The very kind folks at Gollancz had air-mailed this book all the way from UK for me to review. The best part about the deal was the book was free and all one had to do was to review it within 3 weeks. Below is the review that I had written for the book. (what better way to keep the blog active, given how hectic schedules have become all of a sudden, there is barely anytime to read a book, let alone update the blog)
Wolfhound Century by Peter Higgins
Imagine being invited to a sumptuous 5 course meal. Extremely rich & extremely delicious. However, as you finish the 2nd course, the dishes are whisked away and you are asked to come back again at a different time for the remaining courses. Wolfhound Century is a bit like that. A fantastically well written, brilliantly imagined world, set in a Russia, that may not be a Russia, Peter Higgins builds his world deftly and populates his world with characters and hidden worlds that are living breathing characters in themselves.
In a nutshell, the plot revolves around Vissarion Lom, a police investigator who is empowered by his supervisors to root out and find the leader of the revolutionaries, creating problems for a totalitarian government. However, things are not what they seem. Betrayals, corruption, deceit and bureaucracy confront Lom in every direction. Lom is a character we can all root for. A decent cop (a rarity), his are the eyes through which the book enfolds and what a world that is. This world is a one that had angels fall from the skies and has a hidden world that is targeted for destruction.
Its quite an intriguing thriller and Higgins has short chapters that help drive a sense of urgency to proceedings. The book starts with a bang, lands you smack in between and lets you figure things out, even as things keep on happening. At 300 pages, a doorstop it is not. However, the very lack of length of the book throws a curve ball at you since you realize as you reach the end of the book, that the central conflict is not resolved and sets up the stage for a sequel, which does seem to come out of nowhere. Its a scenario where in you expect the Battle of Helm’s Deep to complete the Two Towers movie and instead the movie stops when Legolas takes out the Saruman’s Wargs. Which unfortunately is the aftertaste that you are left at the end of the book.
Peter Higgins definitely has a bright future given his prose and world building. However, what he needs to be working is to up the stake of his novels and make his climax bigger.
Count me intrigued for the next book in the series.
Overall rating: 6.5 Stone Angels on 10