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Book Review

Book Cover

Angels of Vengeance


Author: John Birmingham
Titan Books
RRP: £7.99, US $9.99
ISBN: 978 1 78116 619 2
Available 22 February 2013

After the mysterious event which eradicated much of the population of the United States, Kipper, the new president, is trying to resurrect his country from the damage done, but faces enemies both foreign and internal. In Texas, the governor is paying lip service to the idea of the USA while all the time using murder to extend his control and weed out the population. The fate of the USA hangs in the balance, but its future will not be decided by large armies, rather it is individuals bend on revenge who will have the final word...

Angels of Vengeance is the third and final book in the alterative world history from John Birmingham and continues the trend of starting with large sweeping world events and slowly concentrating on smaller, more individual stories. Also we have the usual word of warning, as this is the third book, the novel only makes sense if you have read the previous two.

Depending on how compelling you found the individual characters, as opposed to the greater picture, this will either be a bonus or great deficit when reading the book. There are only two locations in the story, the States, where most of the action takes place and a subplot in Australia.

All the characters return for the next instalment with Birmingham trying to both tie the story strands together as well as bring the novel to a satisfying conclusion. In many ways he succeeds, although you can't help but feel that overall there is a bit of padding going on.

Bringing the story down to the level of the individual means that you have to had connected with the characters, though as it is related from a number of viewpoints, there’s a good chance you’re going to enjoy a couple of the story strands.

Caitlin, once again, stood out as both the most rounded character and the person with the most interesting storyline. To be honest, Kipper, as the President, always felt like a bad fit for the job, but he acts as a good counterweight to Governor Blackstone, providing two radically different view of what the county needed to get back on its feet. It’s a little black and white, with Blackstone finally being revealed as a bit of a short sighted idiot.

Even given it's move from the macro to the micro, Birmingham has still provided a satisfying end to his tale. Taken as a whole this was an ambitious work, both in scope and execution, but for the most part the author has pulled it off.


Charles Packer

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