Almost ten years in the writing, The Kings of Eternity is a novel of vast scope and depth, full of the staple tropes of the genre and yet imbued with humanity and characters you’ll come to love.
1999: On the threshold of a new millennium, the novelist Daniel Langham lives a reclusive life on an idyllic Greek island, hiding away from humanity and the events of the past. All that changes, however, when he meets artist Caroline Platt and finds himself falling in love. But what is his secret, and what are the horrors that haunt him?
1935: Writer Jonathon Langham and Edward Vaughan are summoned from London by their editor friend Jasper Carnegie to help investigate strange goings on in Hopton Wood. What they discover there – no less than a strange creature from another world – will change their lives for ever. What they become, and their link to the novelist of the future, is the subject of Eric Brown’s most ambitious novel to date.
***** *** *******
This is a review that I find a little difficult to write, which may seem strange for a book to which I’ve given a high rating, but as I begin to write I’m strugling to put down in words how much enjoyment I got from this. Therefore it’s probably going to be a rather short review.
Good enough to make it onto my Favorites List, I’ve not read a book quite like it. While this is a great science fiction book written by one of today’s finest authors of any genre (in my humble opinion) it actually starts out quite different (i.e. non-sci-fi) and it’s not until a little way through that the science fiction elements appear. But when they do, it’s in a really cool way, in stark contrast to the 1930’s England in which a portion of the story is set, and this is one of the things that makes this book so wonderful.
The story is told from two quite different viewpoints, one a first person account, the other a third person narrative and they combine along the way into a solid story of happiness and pain, wonder and intrigue. To say much more would probably introduce spoilers, and the synopsis probably tells as much as you need to know, so hopefully it’s sufficient enough to say that the story is told superbly and that it left me feeling very satisfied, glad that I’d invested the time reading it.
If I was forced to make comparisons, some books that I’ve read that are similar are some of Eric Brown’s other works, namely Kethani and The Serene Invasion. All of these stories have at their core some sort of benevolent alien species that can bestow wonderful yet ominous gifts upon human recipients. Like those other books, this book presents the human aspect of such wonders, how one might begin to adjust to a life of no disease or sickness and even immortality when we’re bred and conditioned to expect finite time with sickness as a fact of life. I very much wanted to be one of the characters in this book, I connected with it on such a level.
To avoid simply rambling on about how good this book is and how much enjoyment that Brown has given me yet again, I’m going to close with my usual appraisal of his work: once again Eric Brown fails to disappoint.
A must-read for any lover of story.
= 4.6 out of 5