Sunday, January 25, 2009

The Burning Man - Mark Chadbourn

Horrible mystery tour.

At least for the Brothers and Sisters of Dragons, anyway. For the reader, this is as good as the last book.

Church and the rest of his Five have begun to realise what is going on with the Void's Mundane Spell - so that the everyday person is a bit stuck in the Matrix, if you like, supernatural style.

The first thing they need to do is to pull the other modern day group out of it, and this is where the start of the book finds Ruth and Church - out to retrieve Mallory and Sophie. The others have similar missions to gather the remaining two corporeal members of Mallory's Five. Tom's prophetic abilities also begin to come back, similarly.

The other problem is their power source, the Blue Fire is ebbing, and this entails a world tour and encounters with pantheons of all sorts (you even get Church going toe to toe with the Norse God of War!)

The various Tuatha and their realm still play an important part, for better or worse, helping, harming, fighting by and betraying the various members of the Five - and this is where having read the earlier volumes the Age of Misrule will enhance understanding of what is going on. Plenty of other supernatural strangeness to be had and weapons to be gathered.

Veitch and his injustice society version, the Brothers and Sisters of Spiders are still doing their own thing, as is the Libertarian. In the case of the former, an interesting dynamic develops between Etain, Veitch and Ruth. Church and company also want to make contact with those of the past Five members that Veitch and friends have not managed to slaughter, for help in the final battle.

With this rapidfire set of supernatural religious power confrontations undergone, Chadbourn also reveals there are Gnostic underpinnings to his story, and the titular figure actually comes from something a bit New Age - The Burning Man Festival. This is counterbalanced by entertaining pop culture banter anmd insults between the bunch, even to the level of Legion of Substitute Heroes jokes.

Chadbourn continues to deliver.

4 out of 5

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