The Bookman

Lavie Tidhar’s The Bookman

When I was a kid, there was this TV special that combined a lot of the more famous cartoon characters at the time. The special was used as a deterrent for kids to avoid drug and alcohol use. You had the likes of Alf, the Muppets and the Ninja Turtles teaming up with Bugs Bunny and others to stop a child from going down the wrong path. Seeing this “dream team” of characters all combined on one program blew my fragile little mind.

The reason I bring this up is because Lavie Tidhar does something a little similar. No, it isn’t a PSA deterring readers from mind altering substances – it also combines legendary historical figures and characters into one extremely interesting universe!

At the center of this steam-punk inspired tale, we have Orphan, a young blossoming poet living in London. Following the unexpected murder of his girlfriend by the notorious terrorist, The Bookman, Orphan sets out on a journey that will lead him to an unexpected discovery.

There’s a lot to like about this book. For example, this is a debut novel and the writing is certainly representative of a much more experienced writer. Tidhar’s world building is top-notch and you really feel a part of this universe he’s created.

As I said earlier, the mingling of historical figures and legendary characters is one of the best reasons to give this a shot. For example, you have Moriarty, Sherlock and Mycroft Holmes running around in the same universe as Karl Marx, Jules Verne and Nikola Tesla. You could certainly write this feature off as gimmicky or a cheap way to draw in readers but it held it’s own. It definitely seemed integral and at no point created a distraction from the core story.

The Bookman is the first in a trilogy and something I may consider a gateway drug into the world of steam punk. It also gives me a reason to check out more of what Angry Robot has to offer. If this publishing company is shooting out a regular stream of excellence like The Bookman, I’ve got a lot of reading to do.


Check out our review with Lavie completed in February 2013.

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