The Jvlian Paradox (Hardback)

Author: Kurt Otto Peterson
Melrose Books
RRP: 16.99
ISBN: 978 1 906050 09 2
Available 15 May 2007

Following an unpleasant rape Dr Julia has retreated from the world, but one fateful night changes all of that. When she hears a gunshot she calls the police who discover an unconscious naked man, at the scene of a murder, who is taken in and tended by Dr Julia. He is not the only naked man found that night and if things were not bad enough there appears to be a mysterious storm over Chatham, one that never ends. With the phones cut off to the outside world, can Dr Julia unravel the mystery of the two strange men, who only speak Latin and who also seem to know who she is?...

The Jvlian Paradox is a novel by Kurt Otto Peterson, though if you're looking for it you might want to ask for The Julian Paradox, as the Roman V is our U and, if you're that interested, their C is our K. It's a great nod to the knowledge of the author, but I can't help thinking that the cleverness will cut his sales, with the book being misfiled; even the book's jacket can't make its mind up spelling it with a V on the cover and a U on the book's sleeve.

The novel is a supernatural mystery which throws together Republican Rome and England during the Second World War, now there's a combination you don't see everyday. Peterson has played a little fast and loose with historical accuracy, though in his defence he admits that he has changed some facts for dramatic reasons - after all this is a novel and not a history book and that sort of thing goes on in other media all the time.

It is not giving away too much of the plot - as most of it is on the book's sleeve - to say that one of the naked men is Julia's father, separated by two thousand years and generally when this sort of thing happens it is accompanied by mysterious storms and the potential to change history, especially if your father is the very famous Roman general, Julius Caesar. In such times what you really need is a powerful Druid, who just happens to have waited his whole life to return you to your own time and avert an unravelling of time.

I did have a few niggling issues with the book. The description of 1943 Chatham as a rural village appears incorrect. I used to live near there and it has been a military base since the time of Elizabeth I, with a number of forts and would have had a sizeable military presence during the war. I thought that Julia's acceptance of her reincarnation was a bit swift. Given that she had already been psychologically traumatised by the rape, you would have thought, as a doctor, that she would have questioned this, and her reaction to it, in more depth.

The book is extremely well written with good, believable character development and once the plot gets going, the novel is quite engrossing. Whether you accept the ending will be a personal choice. The book has some nice ideas and covers so many markets it will appeal to fans of historical novels, thrillers and supernatural fantasy, though the heart of the book is about the love between a father and daughter.

Charles Packer

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