Book Title: Jack Glass
Author: Adam Roberts
Publisher: Gollancz 2012
Source: The local library, my second home..:D
Page Count: 373
Genre: Science Fiction/ Detective Thriller
Spoilers In Review: YES!
First Impression of the Book: This book should really be called the legends of Jack Glass as though he is in this book throughout, he is not properly fleshed out as the story makes way for other characters. I really enjoyed the science fiction elements of this book, they were top notch but the detective aspects were very average for me, not bad just ok. AR is a talented SF writer and i really look forward to all his other books.
Summary of the Book (Spoilers/:D):
This is the (partial) story of Jack Glass or Iago (his name for most of this story). AR introduces this story as a three part story, a prison break, a 'whodunnit' and a locked room mystery. This is exactly what you get, three separate events intertwined by science story writing at its best.
The prison break part of this story sets a particular scene, for both the main character/story and for AR's writing style. The first 100 pages follows a prisoner named 'Jac' who is sent to an asteroid out in our solar system to serve his sentence with six fellow prisoners. Their job during this sentence is to mine the surface of the asteroid for a big merchant company, during the planning of this task a hierarchy forms of which 'Jac' and a fellow prisoner called 'Gordius' are at the bottom.
Though 'Jac' has to face the difficulties of being trapped with other hardened criminals he still manages to put together a plan and escape his prison and vanish. The events on this asteroid set a certain scene for this novel that dissipates quite quickly as AR quickly moves on to the second story in this novel.
The next chunk of the story is set on a future earth and focuses on a young lady in her mid teens. Diana is the daughter of the leaders of clan 'Argent' one of five royal clans that rule the solar system. Diana and her sister Eva are sent to earth and during this stay Diana is put to work to solve a murder mystery that had taken place in the servants quarters.
This part of the story is largely forgettable and really is used to set in place other story elements that will come into play later on in the 3rd part of this book. As Diana's theories come together on who had killed the servant and how; the sisters are chased from their home the Ulanov's the highest power in the solar system. The sisters are separated and Diana is sent on the run with Iago who by this point is revealed to be the infamous 'Jack Glass'.
Jack reveals that the Ulanovs are searching for FTL technology (Faster-than-light) that his friend had created but in a crisis of conscience hid from everyone as he believed it would bring about the end of their world. This is part of the story where the science fiction writing is superb and I really got stuck in to the story.
The final adventure in this story is a locked room mystery, and a great one too!!
The light version is that Jack, Diana and five others are in a room with one exit, no one is armed and no one intends to hurt each other due to an agreement to surrender, but the arresting officer ends up vaporised and no one in the room knows what happened. It is a great addition to the story and the only downside of it really is that it highlights a great relationship between Jack Glass and Bar Le Duc. I enjoyed this relationship and I wished there was more of it.
AR is honest in the 'Acknowledgements' section of this book, where he says its more of a detective novel than a science fiction piece. This is a shame because AR is such an enjoyable SF writer and I was left wanting more, but that is just me and other people may find it was just enough.
An enjoyable science fiction/detective story which skimps out on the former but maybe that is me being greedy, I haven't gone into the SF elements that are apparent in this story to much as they are best explained in the context of the story.
Please check this out!!
I can't wait to check out AR's other material :D
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