Jack Glass

By Adam Roberts

Rating: 5 stars

This very clever, twisty, turny book tells the story, or rather, three, related, stories of the notorious murderer Jack Glass. We know that Jack is the murderer, we’re told right at the start, but the important questions are how and why. And where do the three little letters FTL fit in, and why are they so dangerous?

Other than his Doctor Who parody, Doctor Whom (which I didn’t like), I’ve not read anything by Adam Roberts, but I’d heard good things about this book and had heard that he was good at things that weren’t parody. I’m very glad I gave it a chance as I very much enjoyed this book. The language is gorgeous, going for the lyrical, poetical prose that I’m so fond of. The mystery is intriguing and I was true to form in failing to spot the root cause of the mystery (and went one better in the final story, by not remembering the Jack was the murderer and failing to figure out who it was (although can regain some credibility by figuring what what the murder weapon was).

The characters are interesting, especially the relationship between Diana (the young heiress and amateur detective in the second and third segments) and Iago, her tutor. The worldbuilding is also excellent. The idea of a solar system in turmoil is brought across very well, with the minimum of exposition and there are shades of Orwell in the idea of the trillions of ‘Sumpolloi’ barely surviving in the shanty bubbles of the solar system and trying to ferment revolution in the proletariat to overthrow the mysterious Ulanov clan, who rule the system with an iron fist.

I’ll certainly be looking out for more of Roberts’ work.

Book details

ISBN: 9780575127647
Publisher: Gollancz
Year of publication: 2012

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