Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Book Review: 'The Victor's Heritage' by Anthony Caplan

New Hampshire author Anthony Caplan is a former wire service journalist how is the successful author of five novels – FRENCH POND ROAD, LATITUDES, BIRDMAN, and The Jonah Trilogy – Book 1 SAVIOR and now book 2 THE VICTOR’S HERITAGE. The fact that Anthony has lived and worked on three continent supplies him with the experiences he so beautifully translates into his strange yet deeply moving novels.

As an example of his writing skills this reader’s review of his earlier work sets the stage – ‘LATITUDES covers a lot of territory both physically and emotionally and author Anthony Caplan manages to navigate this difficult tale with finesse. His technique of relating the story in brief chapters, each with a title of place and time, helps keep the bifurcated life of young Will - a lad who is the son of a father committed to a life in Venezuela and a mother who prefers to maintain her residency in the USA - manageable for the reader. This is a story of a family and home that breaks, results in divorce, argues over the custody of the four children to the point of kidnapping back and forth from South America to North America and the schism that creates in our main character's development. Embroidering the loomed picture of modern day family dysfunction are descriptions of parental physical fighting, alcohol abuse, infidelity and obsession with sexual partnering - all aspects that produce indelible tattoos of pain on the recipient children.’ Though some may question the reference to that book, the trilogy he is writing is a further polishing of those writing skills.

Anthony Caplan makes his stories work by using language that is smart and poignant. Book 1 of the Trilogy SAVIOR is summarized as follows: `1 A father and son stumble into the secret world of the Santos Muertos, a crime cartel bent on global domination. The son must find his father and keep the secret of the ancient Mayan code underlying the creation of matter in the universe from falling into the wrong hands. A story of sacrifice and love.’ And now the strange vocabulary and places and situation continue as is evidenced in THE VICTOR’S HERITAGE: ‘Corrag is a Democravian teenager, smart, funny and bold. Maybe too bold. It is 2045. America has been shattered into two countries. Democravia and the Republican Homeland. Peace between the two continental rivals is always fragile. An ill-fated escapade with her boyfriend launches Corrag on a journey of revolutionary impact, driving her to exile in the Nenkaja from which there is no escape. Will she ever find a place for herself in a society dominated by the Augment?’

To find a genre in which to place this fascinating story begs indulgence – is it science fiction, predicative apocalyptic, fantasy, thriller, dystopian? In truth it is all of these, successfully woven into a story lightened with subtle humor, political permutations, and much food for thought about the future we seem to be carving. Anthony Caplan is clearly one of our more important writers and we can only hope he will complete this trilogy soon Grady Harp, December 16

Editor's note: This review has been published with the permission of Grady Harp. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.

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