Ben Jeapes - THE NEW WORLD ORDER - 2004 David Fiskling Books -
An alternate history fantasy novel set in the years between 1645 and 1651. When machine guns, airships, and steam trains appear in an English Civil War novel you know something odd is going on, and at least it combines reading work on the Civil War with other guilty pleasures for this re-enactor, but sadly this work shifts from how the Civil war might have gone in such a technological environment, to dealing with the humanoid invading alien forces who have imported such devises into the world, as Roundhead and Cavalier try to deal with the new enemy whilst maintaining their own differences at the same time. Too much attention is given to the Holekhor, (the invading force) and their ability to pass through dimensional Stargate SG-1 type portals into our world, rather than on the invaded country trying to deal with the new menace. Jeapes spend so much time developing his relatively human invasion force that he reduces the historic characters to cameos in the events. Matthew Hopkins, the infamous Witchfinder General, is himself crucified by the apparent witches from the new race, but we barely have time for him to develop as a character himself before this occurs. This is typical of Jeapes. Characters are often built up just to be killed off. Charles 1st dies early on, (accidentally, stepping on a mine), and so we get little of the tension needed and promised by a book in which Cromwell plays a more significant role. Too many characters seem willing to make noble sacrifices of themselves to save the day, and a figure committing utter villainy in one chapter is expected to be the hero and gain sympathy the next. The Holekhor, may be the dullest alien invaders in SF. A great disappointment of a novel, occasionally entertaining, but rarely remotely convincing. Jeapes also goes to a lot of trouble to promote his own Catholic beliefs. In one chapter, an invader who is a Catholic convert describes the entire Bible to his confused colleagues. There are however, some moments of delicious humour. One character asking the name of the Catholic God for a form he has to complete on a Catholics behalf, is told that the God is called God. He replies that this is like having a cat and calling it Cat. Generally however, the evangelism gets in the way of the narrative, which itself focuses on the less interesting characters.
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