Saturday, July 14, 2007

"Drinking Midnight Wine" by Simon Green

Those of you who keep up with Novel News will recognize Green as author of the Nightside novels. I found this delicious little tidbit when pulling together a selection of Sci-Fi titles for our branch; of course, I had to give it a shot! Glad I did, too.

Toby Dexter is an average man, doing an average job, living an average life. Nothing exciting has ever happened to Toby, and he doesn't seem much inclined to change that. Granted, he's now in his 30s, and realizes that his life, while comfortable, is sort of headed nowhere. While riding home from work one day, he watches the beautiful woman with the perfect lips, a woman he's been watching for some time now. When they get off the train, it's pouring down rain. All of a sudden, Toby watches the woman go through a door and disappear. What's odd about this is that the door wasn't there when they pulled into the station, nor has Toby ever seen this door before in all his years coming and going from work. Taking a chance, he follows the woman through the door.

And walks straight into Mysterie, a parallel universe to our own (known as Veritie to the inhabitants of Mysterie). There are all sorts of strange and exotic beings living in Mysterie, including Toby's beauty. She is Gayle, and while a true daughter of Mysterie, she has preferred to live as a human in Veritie for a long time. She is not happy that Toby has followed her into her home world; what's worse is that she soon realizes that something bad is coming to Mysterie and Toby will be involved. He is what is known as a Focal Point, and it's also quite probable that he's to be Humanity's Champion. A tall order for such an ordinary man.

While Toby and Gayle investigate the strange occurrences in both worlds, they meets some of the odd citizens of Mysterie, including Jimmy Thunder, son of Thor and a godling in his own right; Luna, Gayle's sister, who isn't quite in her right mind; The Mice, human-sized rodentia who were former hippies; Angel, a celestial being brought into the material world, and one that could be from either above or below; Leon, a werewolf; and finally, Hob, the son of The Serpent in the Sun, and a very, very bad man.

The action is pretty tight and the writing is, of course, excellent. This was a longer work than the Nightside books, and I liked that it stood on its own. I had plenty of time to get to know the characters, so when they were in danger, I cared what happened. I liked the budding relationship between Gayle and Toby, very realistic, no soppy romance here. Overall, I've decided that Green is one of the better writers out there today, and look forward to more of his works, be they Nightside novels or other Sci-Fi stuff.

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