Science fiction and fantasy
Sleeping Late On Judgement Day
by Tad Williams
This novel sets up a lot of mysteries which get deeper and twistier as the story progresses. What has happened to Sam, Bobby's angelic friend who is involved in a mysterious Third Way, a place for souls to go that isn't Heaven or Hell? Why is Bobby's apartment haunted? Why are some of his contacts afraid to talk to him? Why is he being pursued by a violent group of Nazi-like thugs known as the Black Sun? Where is the demon Eligor's horn, a symbol of a pact between him and a rogue angel, being hidden? And can Bobby trust Temuel, his angelic boss, who keeps turning up in San Judas in different bodies in order to give him messages?
In his travels Bobby meets a number of new faces including the weird scholar Gustibus, a fount of knowledge who surrounds himself with nuns. At the other end of the spectrum are Halyna and Oxana, a pair of feisty young eastern Europeans who love guns, fast food, and hunting the Black Sun. The Amazons, as Bobby calls them, manage to make him feel old in spirit, if not in body, with their sheer enthusiasm for life. If anything, Sleeping Late On Judgement Day is funnier than the previous two novels, and a lot of that is down to the sparky dialogue between Bobby and the Amazons. Bobby's dry, black humour is undiminished throughout the novel, and if anything it gets sharper when he's in a tough spot.
The pacing builds up as Bobby veers from hopeless situation to crazy hopeless situation, driven by his reckless need for answers and his less reckless need not to die permanently. But underneath that he harbours a deep sense of loss over Caz, and also his guilt about getting his close friends and other nearby innocents into trouble. So Tad Williams has created a character who may be very snarky, but who is also sympathetic. The book has its share of touching scenes to punctuate the demonic brink-of-Armageddon action. This is one story that did keep me up late wanting to know whether Bobby would get out of his predicaments and find anything close to a happy ending. I won't spoil it by saying which way the ending turned out, but the third instalment of this satisfying series was powerfully moving.
8th June 2017
If you like this, try:Blackbirds by Chuck Wendig
Miriam Black can see how people will die, but her gift is a curse if she can't change anyone's fate.
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