A Vi­sion Of Fire

Try not to think of Scully…

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290 pages | £ 12.99 ( hard­back)/£ 6.49 ( ebook) Au­thors: Gil­lian An­der­son and Jeff Rovin Pub­lisher: Si­mon & Schus­ter near im­pos­si­ble. At some point while read­ing Gil­lian An­der­son’s de­but novel, you will think, “This is like an X- File.”

Ad­mit­tedly, pro­tag­o­nist Caitlin O’Hara – a psy­chi­a­trist – is more like An­der­son’s character from Han­ni­bal than Scully ( and a lot less scep­ti­cal), but the cen­tral con­ceit is pure Mul­der- fod­der. When the In­dian am­bas­sador nar­rowly avoids as­sas­si­na­tion dur­ing UN peace talks, his daugh­ter’s re­ac­tion seems over- ex­treme; she’s not just in shock, she’s act­ing like she’s pos­sessed. Caitlin, called in to help, dis­cov­ers cat­a­clysmic se­crets span­ning mil­len­nia and con­ti­nents.

The novel – the first in se­ries The Earthend Saga – reads sus­pi­ciously like the pi­lot for a TV show. At just shy of 300 pages you might ex­pect some­thing lean and mean; in­stead it feels stodgy and padded. Not much ac­tu­ally hap­pens bar an aw­ful lot of spec­u­la­tion tinged with cheesy pseudo- sci­ence that bor­ders on Cal­i­for­nian New Age hip­pyshit ( not ex­cused by the fact that the char­ac­ters ad­mit it sounds like Cal­i­for­nian New Age hip­pyshit).

In its favour, the prose is crisp, the main char­ac­ters are wellde­fined and like­able, and the story takes place in a vividly real mod­ern world of in­ter­na­tional crises, Google han­gouts and psy­cho­log­i­cal neu­roses. There’s also an in­trigu­ing con­spir­acy arc plot go­ing on in the back­ground. Which is a bit like… oh, you know where this is go­ing. Dave Golder

You can’t help it. It’s

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