Sunday, May 29, 2022

Isolate (The Grand Illusion #1)


Isolate is the first novel in a new series by L. E. Modesitt, Jr. Released 16th Nov 2021 by Macmillan on their Tor imprint, it's 608 pages and is available in hardcover, mass market paperback, audiobook, and ebook formats. It's worth noting that the ebook format has a handy interactive table of contents as well as interactive links and references throughout. I've really become enamored of ebooks with interactive formats lately. Book two of the series is due out in August 2022.

This is grand space opera mystery with political machination, skullduggery, and corruption. The main character is an Isolate, one of the few people who are immune to manipulation from empaths. As such, he's ideal for security and protection and works at protecting one of the leaders of a powerful political party.

One of the most appealing facets for me was the fact that it was immediately so comfortable...with a few plot/setting changes, it would be at home as a western or a gritty noir PI novel (on the mean streets of NYC). It's visceral, perennial, it's engaging, and familiar. There's nothing morally bankrupt or emotionally ambiguous with the protagonists here. Having emphasized how traditional the writing and plotting are, I will say that true to form, there's not a lot here to challenge the boys' club feel of a lot of golden and silver-age science fiction, with the exception of a female partner and the strong (not entirely positively rendered) wife of the main character. It's not John Norman (Gor novels) by a long shot, but neither is it Octavia Butler.
Overall: Engaging, well written, occasionally stilted dialogue, high political science fiction. I recommend it for readers looking for alternatives to early Heinlein, Frank Herbert, Larry Niven, and the other boys in the band. Four stars.

Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes

No comments:

Post a Comment