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Book Frivolity.....

Speculative Fiction Reviews, Interviews, Art and Whatever Else!

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Stone of Farewell
Tad Williams
The Guns of Empire (The Shadow Campaigns)
Django Wexler
Tallwood
Jeremy Kool, Steve Gerlach & Amanda Kool

Book Review: Left to Darkness by Craig Saunders

Left To Darkness - Craig  Saunders
A meteor strikes the Earth. Dirt and dust fill the air. Only a few people remain under the setting skies, and those who still live find it's not God's England anymore.

It's the Devil's turn.

Lines are drawn between the dark and light. For the darkness, James Finley and his cult for the end of days. On the side of light, Paul Deacon, the lost policeman, and Dawn Graves, the last mother.

To survive, they must put their lives in one man's hands: Frank Liebowicz, a killer with a soft spot for lost causes. Because come Armageddon, God won't choose his champions.
 
Revelations: And the seventh angel poured out his vial into the air; and there came a great voice out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, It is done.
 

It doesn't mater how many Craig Saunders books you read, you are never quite prepared for what he brings to the table! It's like being unexpectedly punched in the face, then your assailant asks you to sit down, have a drink and a deep and meaningful conversation with them.

 
Left to Darkness is shocking and vulgar, but Saunder's layers his work with so much more than that, it's hardly even a mote in the eye once you get to the real story. There can be 5000 different shit storms raging about, (including meteors striking the earth, a Dead King and his weeping, barbed wire/crushed glass crown wearing followers, and some psychopathic love birds that like some death with their sex), but in the end they are really just the catalyst to get his characters up, moving and doing their thing.
 
Though not necessarily because they care about the shit storm, or being heroes to fight the shit storm. In fact they are regularly quite blasé about the greater consequences of the shit storm itself. They are just doing what they are doing, cause that's what they need to do. Whether it's having a baby, killing some mafia bosses, or being a policeman; they all have their own motivations, even if they are being nudged about by a mysterious, naked, chain smoking bloke with 'magical' cigarettes. 
 
What makes them interesting, is that all of the point of view characters are grey characters. None of them can be categorized as good or evil; even the hired killer is just a guy that simply does that as a job. He's good at it, so that's what he does, but that's not ALL of who he is. I find that exciting as a reader, because it makes the whole story incredibly unpredictable. If there's no real driving force one way or the other, you can never be sure what will motivate them to take the next step. Sure, the naked guy might have some things to whisper in their ear, but it may not be the character you expect, that listens to him.
 
And Saunders is the master at the 'what the hell just happened' ending. I can never tell, where things are being driven, or how exactly they got to their destination until I think about it for a while afterwards. I like that moment, reminds me of real life somewhat.. 
 
The start feels slightly slow and disjointed in the build up, but I'm still not sure that it wasn't completely on purpose to throw the reader off the scent. Generally it's a pretty wild juggernaut once it gets started!
 
Verdict: 
 
Get on for the ride! If you can handle it..