One of the great things about the internet is that books that are published in one country are now easily accessible to readers in other countries, even other hemispheres. The trick is to find them. That’s why I’m here.
A few years ago I became aware of Trent Jamieson’s work through his Nightbound Land Duology (reviewed here and here). I was recently contacted by Patrick Lenton of Momentum Books, an Australian publisher about reviewing Mr. Jamieson’s The Memory of Death. I was a little hesitant at first because this was the fourth volume of the Death Works series. The others had been published by a different publisher.
However, I decided to give it a try. (I’d like to thank Mr. Lenton for the review copy.)
It turns out that The Memory of Death was quite an enjoyable tale.
Steven de Selby is the former head of Mortmax. This is the company that is in charge of death. I liked this concept, and I suspect it’s more fully explored in the previous volumes. Speaking of the previous events in the story, Steven ended up in Hell. As this book opens, he’s made his escape, although he has no memory of doing so. (That should be your first clue that something might be amiss.)
He’s trying to get back to Mortmax, but he gets kidnapped on the way there. He manages to escape and makes his way to the corporate offices. As soon as he walks in the door, his former lover and his cousin both attack him.
That’s when things get really weird. As in Phillip K. Dick type of weird. I’m not going to spoil the surprises. I’ll just say Jamieson does some intriguing things with viewpoint that most writers wouldn’t dare try.
The vision of Hell in this book isn’t the Christian concept of Hell, but it’s still a place I wouldn’t want to spend a few minutes there, much less eternity. Steven does end up back in Hell.
Some familiarity with the previous books would have helped, but the story was pretty easy to follow. Jamieson does a good job of filling in backstory without resorting to infodumps or assuming you’ve read and remembered everything that’s happened up to this point in his tale. He sketches in all the relationships and the baggage that goes with them with a deft hand. Steven de Selby is a likeable character I found easy to sympathize with.
I read an electronic edition, and found all the experience completely satisfying from a production values point of view. There were no weird line or page breaks.
If the concept of a corporation being in charge of Death appeals to you, you’ll want to check this series out. There are forthcoming volumes in the production queue. And like I said, while familiarity wit the previous books would be nice, it’s not essential. You can jump right in at The Memory of Death without too much difficulty.