The Good, the Bad and the Infernal
Author: Guy Adams
Series: Heaven's Gate Trilogy 1
Publisher/Date: Solaris Books, March 26, 2013
Format/Length: Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 320 pages
Price: $7.99 (print)
Review Copy: Provided by Publisher
A weird western, a gun-toting, cigarrillo-chewing fantasy built from hangman’s rope and spent bullets. The west has never been wilder. A Steampunk-Western-Fantasy from Guy Adams.
“You wish to meet your God?” the gunslinger asked, cocking his revolver, “well now... that’s easy to arrange.”
Every one hundred years a town appears. From a small village in the peaks of Tibet to a gathering of mud huts in the jungles of South American, it can take many forms. It exists for twenty-four hours then vanishes once more, but for that single day it contains the greatest miracle a man could imagine: a doorway to Heaven.
It is due to appear on the 21st September 1889 as a ghost town in the American Midwest. When it does there are many who hope to be there: traveling preacher Obeisance Hicks and his simple messiah, a brain-damaged Civil War veteran; Henry and Harmonium Jones and their freak show pack of outlaws; the Brothers of Ruth and their sponsor Lord Forset (inventor of the Forset Thunderpack and other incendiary modes of personal transport); finally, an aging gunslinger who lost his wings at the very beginning of creation and wants nothing more than to settle old scores.
A weird western, a gun-toting, cigarrillo-chewing fantasy built from hangman’s rope and spent bullets. The West has never been wilder.
When I first read the novel's description I immediately thought of the musical Brigadoon. The village of Brigadoon also appears every 100 years, but that is truly where the similarity ends. The Good, the Bad and the Infernal is a steampunky weird western about the search for the legendary town of Wormwood. It too appears every 100 years, but not in the same place every time and it certainly does not appear to be as benevolent as musical's village.
The novel focuses on four groups traveling to find Wormwood and their very different journeys. Wormwood seemingly plays with those trying to find it, making the journey difficult, hellish and bizarre. The cast of characters is remarkable and often wildly outlandish - from British gentry to freak show performer outlaws to a huckster to a bunch of monks to a banker and to what may very well be an angel lost. The various groups encounter even stranger things and events than they as they travel in search of the mythical Wormwood.
As the novel features multiple characters, multiple points of view, and multiple stories to tell, you won't know everything in detail about each character. For me that worked well. I knew enough about them to like or dislike them (and believe me there were a few characters I intensely disliked) and to understand their motivations. The characters are definitely memorable. The individual threads of their stories are skillfully woven together to make the first third of the trilogy's tapestry.
I found the pacing of The Good, the Bad and the Infernal to be terrific. The jumps from one group's adventures to another are handled very well. The writing is super and Mr. Adams uses wonderful descriptive language throughout.
The Good, the Bad and the Infernal is clearly about the journey. Some of you may consider the ending a cliff-hanger. I found the ending satisfying as many story elements were resolved, while leaving room for more to come.
The Good, the Bad and the Infernal puts the weird in weird western with a fantastical cast of characters on the strangest journeys of their lives. I am really, really looking forward to the next novel in the trilogy - Once Upon a Time in Hell.
You may read an interview with Guy Adams here.
What: One commenter will win a Mass Market Paperback copy of The Good, the Bad and the Infernal from The Qwillery.
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Who and When: The contest is open to all humans on the planet earth with a mailing address. Contest ends at 12:00AM US Eastern Time on Monday, April 22, 2013. Void where prohibited by law. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 years old or older to enter.
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