A Scattering of Jades

Posted by : atcampbell | On : October 7, 2003

A Scattering of Jades by Alexander C. Irvine

We had 9 people for this book discussion at the home of the Brothers Siros. Seven people finished the book. Many people were surprised to discover this was Irvine’s first novel.

A dark fantasy set in an alternative 1840’s America, the novel centered around events designed to incarnate an Aztec mummy with a god who would control the world. We were impressed with the amount of work Irvne obviously put into the novel. A semi-sharp reader could recognize historical details such as the Bowery fire, the first explorer of Mammoth cave, and a fairly crazy steamship race. Plus historical guests including Aaron Burr and P. T. Barnum. Some people interrupted reading the book to check on the accuracy of events and were not disappointed. Despite this solid historical framework, many people were surprised how the plot turned out and the author mixed history with fantasy very nicely.

A former caver thought the author must have done some caving to have such detail in his descriptions of cave exploration and experiencing total light blackout. SOme people could really feel the claustrophobia during the cave segments.

The horror elements turned a few people off; it’s not a genre many of us read. But everyone agreed the writing was crisp and easy to read. For some people, however, there were some plodding parts. One reader described sections as having “too much writing for too little gain.”

All in all we liked Jades and look forward to Irvine’s next work. A suggestion that the author be invited to ArmadilloCon was met with interest.

Everyone was so busy, we all went home instead of out to dinner.

— Judy Strange