The Flame of the White Sun

Author: Mario Routi
Livani Publishing
RRP: 8.99
ISBN 960 14 1186 0
Available 06 July 2006

Rebecca is an extraordinary young girl; at school she surpasses her peers in intellect, strength and agility. She appears to have the perfect parents, always willing to listen or to give information, but little in the way of advice as they respect her choices and decisions. Everything is perfect, maybe a little too perfect? Rebecca considers her live as ordinary that is until the day her parents reveal the fact that she is of the race of Orizon. Transported to another dimension she discovers a world of creatures, where myth has become a reality, all alive and at war with each other. With a whole new world to explore, Rebecca quickly finds that the line between good and evil isn't as wide as she first thought....

Orizon: The Flame of the White Sun is the first full length novel by Mario Routi. There must be a seed change amongst authors these days, as this is the third novel that I have reviewed that seems to be very unhappy about the world as it stands. Some have decided to go the whole hog and produce a new mode of being wrapped up in a dramatic narrative; Routi seems to have gone the other way and produced a list of complaints against the modern world.

Seems he hates television, but loves cinema, hates cars, social and economic inequality, cruelty to animals... Well, the list goes on and on. About the only thing he doesn't have a thing against is chavs, which if you ask me leaves a gaping hole in the book. Hopefully he will address the pressing chav question in any follow up book.

The book uses a good mix of genres; if you had to pigeonhole it, it's a sort of sci fi meets Narnia, mythical creatures in space ships. The start of the book is exquisitely constructed, at first you'll think you are reading just another poor mans Narnia, until the characters start discussing events both in the contemporary real world as well as Greek philosophers - as if they had spoken to them in person. At which point you'll be thinking: "What the hell is going on here?" It's an excellent device to pique the interested of any jaded reader.

Through its narrative the book examines many of the problems plaguing the world at the moment, and to show just how up-to-date it is, it even has a group of Orizons intervening in a terrorist attack. At times the exposition can become a little preachy and interfere with the continuation of the plot. However, it's not so over the top that it completely gets in the way of the story. As far as the philosophising goes Routi has taken the very sensible route of highlighting many problems without pushing his own solutions on the reader, rather the book appears to be constructed as a jumping off point for discussion. Even within the Utopia he creates he admits that the difference between good and evil is very often a matter of personal perspective.

Apart from that, slightly heavy part of the book, Routi spins a good yarn. His characters are pleasantly flawed and believable. His world, he populates with every fantastic mythical creature that one could wish for. I'm not quite sure who the book is aimed at. As it stands it would appeal to both a teenage and adult audience.

Charles Packer

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