Wednesday, August 19, 2009


This is a first in what will hopefully be an ongoing series of entires, which will occur at irregular intervals. (If you were expecting something regular, clearly you've not been reading my blog very long.) It was inspired by a conversation held elsewhere about profiling lesser known authors. Now, granted, that conversation centered around the idea of well-known authors, and I'm hardly in that category yet by any means. Also, I don't know for certain that these authors are all that lesser-known, I'm simply basing this on the number of books my local library has of them, and whether I'd heard of them before the cover/title attracted my attention.

Yes, I judge books by their covers. If covers weren't important, they'd all be solid colors with nothing on them but the title and the author's name. Which, unless your Stephen King, you don't get.

For this first installment I thought I would highlight the twin works of Hal Duncan, Vellum and Ink. I'm using both books, because even though they are two volumes, they are essentially a single work, under the subtitle The Book of All Hours. Think Lord of the Rings only one book short. And without hobbits. Though, given the premise of the book, their are probably hobbits in there somewhere, the reader just doesn't encounter them.

It's a little bit science-fiction, a little bit fantasy, a little bit alternate-history, all rolled into one, dense story. And I do mean dense. Most of the time, I can judge how good a book is by how long it takes me to go through it. If it's taking me longer to read it than the time the library allots me, chances are it's because I've lost interest. With Vellum and it's companion novel, it's just because the story is a bit to wade through.

So this recommendation comes with a caveat: if Armageddon, nanites, angels (that are and aren't), Sumerian/Hebrew/Christian mythology, and an alternate history or two of the 20th Century (including one semi-steampunk), plus numerous science-fiction realms, through which a recurring cast of souls (not quite characters, but read it and you'll understand) find themselves wandering about before ultimately trying to save the world as we know it... if all that sounds like something you might enjoy, I recommend the book.

Just set aside the time to read it. It was, for me at least, somewhat slow going. It was engrossing, well-written, and the kind of first novel I can only dream of ever attempting (I'm just not that complex with my plots and I know it), but it was something I had to renew in order to finish. So if you're normally a slow reader, and your library does not have a generous renewal policy - mine's unlimited - you might want to consider buying it to finish it.

It'll be cheaper than the fines.


Kmcelhinny said...

That sounds like a lot to wade through, but it's always nice to hear another person's opinion on another book.

Thanks for the recommendation.

(OH... and don't sell yourself short, just bc you haven't been published yet doesn't mean that you can't write damn well and still move and inspire people. Yeesh)

Damien Grintalis said...

It sounds like a very interesting read. I second the thank you for the recommendation.