ATTENTION WRITERS - Here is your chance to share your work. Send us your short stories to be published on-line. Click here for details Don't Delay

LATEST UPDATES


December 15
New reviews in
The Book Nook,
Illustrated Corner and
Voices From the Past


December 9



December 1, 2017
Updated Convention Listings and
Rocky Horror Picture Show


November
Book Pick
of the Month




November 15
New reviews in
The Book Nook,
Odds and Ends and
Voices From the Past


November 12



November 1, 2017
Updated Convention Listings and
Rocky Horror Picture Show


Previous Updates

WesternSFA
Three Parts Dead
by Max Gladstone
A Tor Paperback, 2013, $15.99, 333pp
Release Date: July 23, 2013.
Max Gladstone is one of the Hugo Awards nominees in the New Writer category, and it is easy see why when you read Three Parts Dead.

Here’s the premise: Humans have figured out that gods are essentially entities that collect and redistribute energy: gods receive energy in the forms of prayer and worship, and they dole it out in the forms of blessings, protections, and miracles. Furthermore, gods are bound by their obligations; a god who receives less energy from worship than he or she uses to honor promises can die of over-exertion. Now there are humans who continue to worship a god or set of gods, and those who have decided that anything a god can do, they can do just as well for themselves. Collect enough energy and you can power a city, or even become a Deathless King and rival the gods themselves. But remember that bit about obligations? Well, those obligations are contractual, and so men and even gods need lawyers.

It turns out that practicing law and necromancy share a lot of common ground. The lawyers who negotiate the contracts between gods, kings, living men, ghosts and other undead do so after advanced training in their Craft at the Hidden Schools, which, held aloft by power and concealed by clouds, move about above the mundane dwellings of earthbound men.

Tara Abernathy is literally down and out after being expelled from the Hidden Schools for a reason which the author reveals in good time, so I will give no spoiler here. Let it suffice to say that I liked her even more than I already did when I found out what she had done, and you probably will too. So Tara makes her way home, and puts her Craft at the service of her townspeople, until a crisis reveals that she and they have rather different ideas about acceptable boundaries.

Fortunately, Tara, who rather needs her butt saved right about then, gets recruited by Elayne Kevarian, a partner in the law firm of Kelethras, Albrecht, and Ao, who has had her eye on Tara for quite a long time and has liked what she observed. Tara is taken on as a probationary assistant for a case that involves one of the most powerful of the surviving gods, Kos the Everburning, a benign deity who presides over the city of Alt Coulumb , receiving worship and keeping the lights on and the trains running.

Unfortunately, Kos has just died. There is enough residual divine power to keep the city operational for a few weeks, but time is running out.

So instead of overseeing the fulfillment of a mysterious contract, which has gone missing, Elayne and Tara are hired to find out what caused Kos ’s death, and to settle his contractual debts without triggering a massive power outage in Alt Coulumb.

Abelard is a young acolyte of Kos , the one who was on duty before the Eternal Flame when the not-so-eternal flame went out. Abelard is a genuine devotee, distraught at the passing of the god he loved with all his heart and soul. Elayne recruits him to be their assistant and guide. Accompanied betimes by Abelard’s friend Cat, who is addicted to several things, including vampire blood, and a vampire captain who knows more than someone wants him to remember, they investigate labyrinthine plots and dark places of the city.

Meanwhile, Tara has stumbled upon a wrinkle. Not so long ago, Alt Coulumb had two gods, for Kos shared the city with his consort and complement, the goddess Seril. But Seril died in a war between gods and Kings; and a Craftsman, Alexander Denovo, was hired to cobble together a construct to officiate as Justice in her stead. Now the original guardians of the city, the shape-changing gargoyles who served Seril, have returned to Alt Coulumb, and the Blacksuits, implacable agents and inquisitors of blind Justice, are hunting one of them on suspicion of murder. Denovo is also back, representing the interests of the Kings who covet the power that Kos no longer wields. Or maybe he’s just in it for himself.

This is a terrific story, and the caliber of writing is extraordinary. Three Parts Dead is one of those rare books that, after I finished reading it, I promptly started it again. Knowing the revelations in store in no way diminished my enjoyment; rather, I could savor the indicators, clues, and craftsmanship. I love it when a title makes more sense at the end than it did after the first 5 chapters! Gladstone is certainly a writer I will keep a lookout for, and is my choice for that Hugo. ~~ Chris R. Paige

Follow us

for notices on new content and events.

Our Columns:

The Book Nook
Reviews of the latest in science fiction and fantasy

The Illustrated Corner
Reviews of the latest in Manga and Graphic Novels

Odds and Ends
Reviews of non-genre items our staff enjoyed
(Can be books, movies, TV shows or music)

Voices from the Past
Reviews of genre books from the past (at least 20 years old)
and those which are Out of Print but still wonderful to read

A Chat with
Interviews with people of interest
Current Interview: Brandon Sanderson

Author Appearance & News
This page lists author signings and appearances, convention news
and any other events we think might interest our readers.

Reel Talk
Reviews of current genre movies in the theater
and favorite and new DVD releases

A Tale Told Thusly
A place for new and established writers to show off their short stories

Trivia Contests

In Remembrance
Memories of those who have passed on



WesternSFA Main Page

Links of Interest

Email Us

Disclaimer

Copyright ©2005-2017 All Rights Reserved
(Note that external links to guest web sites are not maintained by WesternSFA)
Comments, questions etc. email WebMaster