Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Mother Of Plenty - Colin Greenland

This is the concluding novel in the Tabitha Jute trilogy. In some respects this is the least satisfying of the three. The great scheme that lay behind all the events is, frankly, a stupendous let down. It could have been so much more, with much barbed comment on the way in which the pointless pastimes of the decadent impact on everyone else. However, the dénouement seems to have been retrofitted and an opportunity to make this a theme of the three books was lost. On the other hand, of course, it may be that the ultimate aim of the three books was to complete a trilogy, a form much loved by readers of sf and fantasy.

The book was also formulaic. After the anarchy of Seasons of Plenty, this one plodded a bit. Villains resurrected, confrontations contrived, and a cast of characters it was difficult to distinguish one from the other (I gave up trying in the end), and very little that seemed involved, as if the author had begun to lose interest in his characters. For all that, it was still well written and contains some wonderful scenes.

Greenland has also created one of the more interesting characters in Tabitha Jute. Amoral, confused, trying to get along and kicking back at authority. There may be a degree of cliché about her, but everyone has that. The flaws are not grafted on to make her a rounded character, they have grown out of her experience and drive her. They are why she loses control in such spectacular fashion and why, as the book closes, she sets out on her own once more.

If you haven’t read these, I can recommend them. Even where they falter, they outshine much else in the field. They are fun as well, which for me is an immediate plus.