tulketh.high.btinternet.co.uk | 27 February 2008 | Graeme Hurry

Capac Raimi is a young man arriving in a city and planning a new life; the life of a gangster. He plans to get right to the top, to topple the almighty Cardinal and to become the new crime boss of the city. To become as powerful a god. However things are not always simple and the fact he cannot remember anything before he arrived in the city is one of the minor complexities. Confusions and seeming madness haunt him, demanding answers. Sometimes answers are more important than life itself. Darren O’Shaughnessy’s first novel avoids the pitfalls of many debuts. It is not pretentious and the prose contains no shade of purple. The writing is lean, extremely readable, and sprinkled with those turns of phrase which mark a writer in charge of his creation. But the reason the reader will turn the pages is the subtle and convincing questions that are set up and scream for answers. The characters theorise in exactly the same way as the reader, a refreshing change when some books seem to shoe-horn the reader to an inevitable ending. But this work may not appeal to everyone, it’s full power can be felt only by readers with an open mind. Genre readers especially. It works if you like sf, fantasy and horror, but not knowing what exactly it is makes the book that more intriguing. As a novel ayuamarca is brilliant and fresh, as a first novel it is almost unbelievable. The plot, the characters the sense of foreboding… even an ending which does not disappoint, makes a wonderful read. It is to be hoped that this is not a flash in the pan and O’Saughnessy can create more fresh and inspired novels, and as this one is sub-titled ‘The City Book 1’ it is probable he has more in the pipeline. Lets hope so, this guy has a great future ahead of him… with or without The Cardinal helping him!

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