THIS STORY TAKES
PLACE BETWEEN THE
NOVELS "COLD FUSION"
AND "DAMAGED GOODS."
OFFICIAL VIRGIN 'NEW
RELEASED IN SEPTEMBER
1880s France. A rip
in time threatens The
future of Europe.
ONLY AN END TO THE
SECRET WAR CAN
SAVE PariS FROM
The Death of Art
I didn’t go into The Death of Art expecting much. The cover painting was hardly
inspiring and, once I’d taken the time to read the rather dry and turgid blurb, my interest was anything but piqued. Somehow though, after compulsively forcing myself through 276 pages of Simon Boucher-Jones’ intricate prose and unfathomable narrative, I still managed to be left feeling extremely disappointed even given my low expectations.
In fairness, the novel starts tolerably enough. There’s a sort of Ace cameo that helps to kick-start the plot, but after that things soon get messy. Within the space of two or three chapters matters soon descend into utter tedium, not because the narrative is necessarily boring, but because it’s just too damned confusing. Having seen words such as “incomprehensible” and “impenetrable” used to describe this book elsewhere, I’m not ashamed to admit that I could not make head nor tail or it. In fact, this loose ‘psi-powers’ arc that began in SLEEPY is all above my head, really - perhaps I’m just not psionically gifted!
At its simplest, The Death of Art appears to be about three antagonistic psychic factions living in 19th century France – the Shadow Directory (lovely, redolent name, I concede); the Quoth; and ‘the Family’ (less impressive name). It’s about these lot and approximately three thousand French supporting characters, Chris running around pretending to be the Doctor’s fifth incarnation, and Roz in bondage. The seventh Doctor only appears sparingly, and when he does his appearances are fleeting and – here comes that word again – impenetrable. I think that just about covers it.
“Merde, merde, merde” Denis yells at one point towards the end of the book, and one could be forgiven for thinking that he was the critic and not a fictional construct trapped within this gothic nightmare. As the Quoth may say, every single thing about this book – save for the beautiful title – is, regrettably...
Copyright © E.G. Wolverson 2006
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