Winner of the 2012 Philip K. Dick Award
Samuil Petrovitch is a survivor.
He survived the nuclear fallout in St. Petersburg and hid in the London Metrozone -- the last city in England. He's lived this long because he's a man of rules and logic.
For example, getting involved = a bad idea.
But when he stumbles into a kidnapping in progress, he acts without even thinking. Before he can stop himself, he's saved the daughter of the most dangerous man in London.
And clearly saving the girl = getting involved.
Now, the equation of Petrovitch's life is looking increasingly complex.
Russian mobsters + Yakuza + something called the New Machine Jihad = one dead Petrovitch.
But Petrovitch has a plan -- he always has a plan -- he's just not sure it's a good one.
Morden (The Lost Art) offers up an engrossing, if occasionally goofy, adventure that meshes theoretical physics and exciting action sequences. In a dark near future, the U.S. has become a theocracy, Japan has been destroyed, and the U.K. has devolved into near-anarchy. Ph.D. student and Russian expatriate Samuil Petrovitch, living in the decaying London Metrozone, foils an attempt to kidnap a mysterious woman called Sonja and finds himself caught up in a war between Russian mobsters and a ruthless tycoon. As things escalate, Harry Chain, an enigmatic cop, and Madeleine, a sexy, violent nun, are also caught up in the war. Morden occasionally gets too cute and there are a few moments that border on deus ex machina, but Samuil's mix of action and research makes him a fresh and engaging character, and the escalating scale of danger and violence moves the plot along briskly. Though pitched as the start of a trilogy, the book stands nicely alone.
While the majority of the book feels like it was written using sentences learned from action thrillers, there are some really nice moments mixed in. I found some of the transitions to be confusing. The plot itself doesn't feel like it begins moving until the last third of the book. Also, it seems like the author wanted his characters to be younger than he was able to write them. Otherwise, this book feels like an action movie--if you don't think about it too hard, you can have a good time.