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Book Review

Book Cover

Shadow of the Jaguar (Hardback)


Author: Steven Savile
Titan Books
RRP: £6.99, US $11.95, Cdn $13.95
ISBN: 978 1 84576 692 4
Available 21 March 2008

In the depths of the Peruvian jungle something has stirred and for two brothers it may well be the last thing they see. When the two sons of Sir Charles Bairstow go missing on an expedition Cutter and his crew are sent to get the boys back. But this is not a simple search and rescues mission as Nick Cutter has been contacted by an old student Nando Estevez with information that an anomaly may have formed outside the British Isles...

Primeval: Shadow of the Jaguar is the first original tie-in novel for the ITV show. Written by Steven Savile, who is no stranger to genre writing having previously penned the audio Torchwood story Hidden, as well as a number of original novels, Retribution and Laughing Boy’s Shadow.

Savile builds the mystery slowly, possibly a little too slowly for some, as it takes most of the book to get to the nub of the action: the discovery of the anomaly and resolution to the invading animal problem. This though is not a naturally bad thing as it gives Savile time to get inside the heads of his main characters. This introverted approach is bound to please fans of the show, but it creates a problem for the casual reader.

I have to admit to not watching Primeval past its first season as it appeared to be degenerating into a monster of the week show. However, things have obviously moved on in Season Two with regards to Cutter's wife, as Savile makes a number of references to her being wiped out of time and replaced with an identical woman with different memories. But, if you haven’t been watching the show then this aspect is never fully explained, leaving the reader wondering exactly what is going on here. It’s a minor point, and one which a lot of genre novels suffer from, and does not overly spoil what is otherwise an enjoyable romp.

Savile weaves his green credentials through his tale, so we get lovingly long descriptions of Peru and man's negative impact on the region. When the action does start, Savile shows a nice sense of pace, building the action and tension towards a satisfying conclusion.

This is a novel which will surely please fans of both Savile’s writing and Primeval.


Charles Packer

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