skygiants: Tory from Battlestar Galactica; text "I can't get no relief" (tory got shafted)
[personal profile] skygiants
Lara Elena Donnelly's Amberlough is being marketed as "John Le Carré meets Cabaret." This is largely accurate. I also saw someone mention Ellen Kushner's The Fall of Kings, which may also be accurate, but I haven't read Fall of Kings so I couldn't really say; however, I definitely did get some strong Swordspoint vibes.

The titular Amberlough is a secondary-world city (though not actually a fantastical one; there's no magic, as far as I can tell) heavily influenced by Weimar Berlin, full of corruption and cross-dressing and decadent clubs. While the nationalist/fascist One State Party is starting to gain in prominence in various regions of the country, nobody expects it to have a chance in Amberlough.

Protagonist A is Cyril DePaul, an intelligence agent who is not at all eager to re-enter the field after a previous traumatic experience; Protagonist B is Aristide Makricosta, a wildly fabulous cabaret emcee who moonlights as a key figure in a major smuggling operation. Cyril and Aristide are having a very comfortable time pretending that they are only banging so they can spy on each other, when in fact everyone is perfectly aware that they are only investigating each other so that they can bang. Protagonist C is Cordelia Lehane, Aristide's stage partner at the cabaret, who has numerous other personal business of her own but gets pulled into their storyline when Cyril finds himself in need of a beard.

The plot kicks off when Cyril gets yanked away from his moderate idyll with Aristide to go back out into the field on an undercover mission. In theory he is meant to be preventing an illicit takeover in the national elections by the One Sate Party. In practice -- well, I mean. Le Carre, Cabaret. I will leave it to you all to do the math.

This should probably be enough information that you'll be able to get a sense if this is the sort of thing you want (and feel able) to read or not. Personally, I'm more of a Privilege of the Sword person than Swordspoint; I was most interested in Cordelia, the only protagonist who at any point can really be said to take a stand for something more than [themselves+1]. That said, I will definitely be reading the next book.

Date: 2017-05-19 06:11 am (UTC)
sovay: (Morell: quizzical)
From: [personal profile] sovay
In practice -- well, I mean. Le Carre, Cabaret. I will leave it to you all to do the math.

See, I like both John le Carré and Cabaret, but a combination sounds depressing as hell.

Date: 2017-09-23 01:35 pm (UTC)
hebethen: (Default)
From: [personal profile] hebethen
I'd actually been wondering about Cyril -- his bit seemed rather ambiguous to me!

Date: 2017-05-19 07:26 am (UTC)
makamu: (the power of words by)
From: [personal profile] makamu
This sounds equal parts fascinating and messy. Thank you for making me aware of the book - I'll take a closer look before deciding what to do next :)

Date: 2017-05-20 02:30 pm (UTC)
makamu: (Default)
From: [personal profile] makamu
I have some thoughts to unpack about the worldbuilding, too, though it's certainly making a very solid effort to be something quite different than alt!Germany.

Oh, I would love to read those thoughts if you can find the time! And it's good to hear that they are making an effort to be their own thing. Not least because I find most of the versions of alt!fascist Germany quite boring and predictably (speaking as a German with an interest in that timeperiod)

Date: 2017-05-20 06:47 pm (UTC)
sovay: (I Claudius)
From: [personal profile] sovay
Her target at-risk minorities are I think also somewhat carefully designed not to map exactly onto Jews or Romani, though she can't get away from it completely.

What does she choose instead?

Date: 2017-05-20 02:07 am (UTC)
whimsyful: arang_1 (Default)
From: [personal profile] whimsyful
Yeah I loved the prose and thought the plot was well done, but it was a bit too bleak for me, despite or perhaps because of the current political climate. I also wasn't that fond of Cyril--"ruthless manipulator willing to sacrifice everything for themselves +1" sometimes works really well for me, but it didn't in this case. I did like both Aristide and Cordelia though!

Date: 2017-05-21 05:38 am (UTC)
kathmandu: Close-up of pussywillow catkins. (Default)
From: [personal profile] kathmandu
Maybe it was written after Brexit? Still not a lot of time, but a few more months.

Date: 2017-05-21 06:55 am (UTC)
rachelmanija: (Default)
From: [personal profile] rachelmanija
It came out from Tor in early February. There's no way. They have a one-year lead time at the absolute minimum. And that's not even accounting for the time it takes to write a book.

Counting backwards and assuming it was finished a minimum of one year before publication and presumably started at least six months before that, it would probably have been started some time in 2014 or (less likely) early 2015. If you push the timeline to mid 2015, which is just barely possible, it could have been inspired by Trump announcing his candidacy.


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