Sunday, February 8, 2009

The Dark Volume-Gordon Dahlquist

The Dark Volume
Gordon Dahlquist
Bantam, Apr 7 2009, $26.00
ISBN: 9780385340366

Finally recovering from her fever which induced hallucinations, Celeste Temple is not thinking about being a West Indies heiress or killing her former fiancé Bascombe (see THE GLASS BOOKS OF THE DREAM EATERS) even if she ponders what murdering her betrayer makes her; mostly she remains sore and weak. As she heals she wonders what happened to her allies (wanted criminal Cardinal Chang and Naval surgeon Doctor Abelard Svenson); and for that matter her other cabal enemies when the dirigible sunk off the inhospitable Iron Coast. However her biggest fear is not the cabal returning to kill her, the guilt of killing her fiancé before he killed her, or even her missing companions; it is the damn “psychotropic blue glass" that has flooded her mind with thousands of memories that threaten to drive her insane.

Many seek to capture Celeste as a tool to be used and abused for her mind’s memories from others. At the same time she struggles to stay free and sane, her alliance partners uncover a conspiracy as devious if not more so than the previous one they think they destroyed. A cabal is using indigo clay to enslave people by erasing their memories. This time they must deal with the practitioners of the diabolical DARK VOLUME; the trio learns that they were naive with what they thought how dangerous and deadly the psychotropic blue glass is.

This exciting sequel is fast-paced and filled with plenty of action as the heroic threesome battle old foes and new enemies. The story line is loaded with adventure as constant conflicts between the champion trio and their adversaries are the norm; although the villains feel more like caricatures (perhaps because no Bascombe surfaces). Still this is a deep tense alternate Victorian thriller that is best served with reading THE GLASS BOOKS OF THE DREAM EATERS just before perusing THE DARK VOLUME.

Harriet Klausner