[Following up her notes on The Drop, Christine has sent in this impression of the last volume of RG's "Earthshimmer" trilogy - the volume that takes us right literally Down Under.]
It was just as intriguing as the previous two books, but more political. Although there was a lot of action, minds at work and schemes at bay were the overriding destiny of the storyline.
(I must admit, that from the first book, The Slant, I got the vibes that Uncle Vic was manipulating Duncan Wemyss for something or other, even if he, in his naivety didn’t quite cotton on until The Rise.)
I thought the invented names were very good, and I found, as before, the use of language to be very clever and quite poetical in between the complicated time scales, other worldliness, strange new words of people and places and surreal happenings. Some I particularly like were:
Page 14 “If a small sail gets shredded in a typhoon, well, it need not bring down the mast with it.”
Page 17 “I couldn’t see the path of common sense amid suspicion’s dark smoke, so I must act to fan that smoke away.”
Page 129 “a voice as desiccated and cracked as a scorched mud-flat left exposed by a drought”.
Page 219 “I had painted myself into a certain picture and it was of the sunny Constable variety, not the half-blind chaotic Turner, for didn’t the Fates owe me a quiet canvas?”
Page 245 “A tooth that’s out of alignment can’t bite as hard as the others.”
I particularly liked the London section with its ‘soul-enriching iconography’. I also loved the travel in imagination along the Time Corridor. What I like about the style is that it can be very ‘high-brow’ and sophisticated in the wording, also very advanced in scientific terminology and understanding of the subject, but then in between these two aspects the author hits on something basic and simple - Music While You Work… The Kroth books and Valeddom (I haven’t yet read Man of the World) have a way of jumping into the unknown yet somehow keeping a foothold on reality.
My favourite painting is Durer’s ‘clod of earth’ which is simply a great clod of earth showing the soil and small roots beneath and grass and weeds growing out of it. Simple, but you can see every blade of grass and says more to me than some of the great old masters. The Kroth saga has that analogy inasmuch as it is written in quite a young (albeit older) teenager style, yet Duncan has a very clever mind and doesn’t necessarily have to be a professor from the start.
The trilogy does have an underlying message as perhaps all Science Fiction does. I think it would make an excellent film or series for TV.