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    Review of A SCATTERING OF JADES by Alexander C. Irvine

    TOR, July 2002

    Aaron Burr is dead and the memory of his aborted attempt to create an empire in the west is largely faded, yet some remember. Riley Steen knows that Burr's hopes were based on Aztec mythology, on an ancient god whose mystic calendar is now coming due. With skill and planning, Steen intends to create what Burr failed at--and is willing to pay any price to make it happen. Printer Archie Prescott knows that his daughter is dead, that the crazy girl who calls him 'da' cannot be Jane. Yet he involves himself with a strange mezo-American mummy that comes to life in New York. Torn by images of destruction, and followed by Steen's killers, Archie heads from New York, across 19th century America, to the Mammoth caves of Kentucky where the magic of the great cycle is taking place and where a new world may be created. Slave Stephen Bishop yearns for a freedom that will never be given him. The emerging god offers him freedom for himself and his children, but only in return for a high price. Only Stephen knows the caves well enough to prevent the magic--or to protect the god.

    Author Alexander C. Irvine creates a powerful alternate history where magic works unseen to most, but remains powerful. Irvine's images of the world of the dead, where the dead's belief in the gods they created continue to sustain the gods' powers is strong and compelling. Irvine's world could be our own, yet zombies walk and gods carve their way into men's hearts. The skillful use of the somewhat obscure history of Aaron Burr's attempted empire (since history was written by Burr's enemies, we may never know his real motivations and goals), gives A SCATTERING OF JADES a verisimilitude that definitely adds to the reader's enjoyment

    Four Stars

    Reviewed 9/14/02

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