The Dying Days
by Shannon Patrick Sullivan
No, not the one by Lance Parkin. "The Dying Days" is the debut novel by Canadian novelist Shannon Patrick Sullivan (extracts available online). If the name seems familiar, he's the guy behind the Dr Who website A Brief History of Time and he used to run the Dr Who Novel Rankings. So he knows very well that the title has been used before; in fact, Lance Parkin gave advice on the book and is thanked copiously in the afterword.
Sullivan's "The Dying Days" has no connection to Dr Who. This is a standalone
novel set in present day Newfoundland in which a secret, fantastical world
exists in parallel with our own. It's a familiar idea and, at times, "The
Dying Days" treads familiar ground. It's a pacey tale but the plot is predictable,
some of the early scenes are too. However, I think three things lift "The
Dying Days" above average. First, there's Sullivan's prose which is that
bit more witty. He reminds me just slightly of Dirk Gently-era Douglas
Adams. Secondly, about a quarter of the way through, the ideas start getting
much more original, the twists of the plot and the characters more interesting.
Thirdly, Sullivan paints a rich background to his characters and his world,
yet things that seem like throwaway jokes turn out to be surprisingly important.
Henry Potts, 5 Nov 2006
Originally posted to the Jade Pagoda mailing list.
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