When visiting my daughter in Canberra recently she handed me a book to read for the plane trip home. She had been out for afternoon drinks with friends during my stay, one of whom was burgeoning Australian author, Dan O’Malley.
My daughter did warn me that young Mr O’Malley was a Star Wars nerd which, quite frankly, put the fear of God into me. You see, one of my proudest achievements is never having watched a Star Wars movie. It’s right up there with never having owned any Tupperware.
One of the reviews I read for The Rook stated ,”Part Bourne Identity, part X-Men and with a hefty dose of Monty Python.” I do not have the words to describe my anxiety levels.
Daniel O’Malley graduated with a Masters degree in medieval history from Ohio State University. He then returned to his childhood home, Australia. His first novel, The Rook, was released in 2012 and was a winner of the 2012 Aurealis Award for Best Science Fiction Novel.
“The Rook” is basically the story of two Myfanwy Thomases. The first one we never officially meet: she exists by way of a suitcase full of letters that she writes to the second Myfanwy throughout the course of the novel. She was working as a bureaucrat in a highly secret organisation, known as The Checquy Group, before her “demise” and has stumbled upon some information indicating there are traitors within this organisation which specialises in paranormal intelligence.
The second Myfawny wakes up with two black eyes and her memory scrubbed, finding letters in her pockets, which lead to her stepping into the job role as Rook at Chequay.
Some of her work colleagues are unsettling at the best. One is a vampire, another is one person with four separate bodies, and yet another looks into your dreams. Myfawney steps up in her position to resolve issues with slime, mould, and skinless bodies, and to oust the traitors within. It’s that kind of book.
To be honest I struggled with the first few chapters. Totally out of my comfort zone. It didn’t take long to get into the rhythm, however, which was aided by some humour along the way. The banter between our heroine and Shantay lightened the storyline as did the relationship with Ingrid, and conversations with the naked Belgian. Hell, I even got a kick out of the insults traded with Fish Tank boy !
It’s a fast paced book which tells a good story. It may be a tad different, particularly to me, though it is definately entertaining. I hope the daughter lends me the sequel : Stiletto.
Who said you couldn’t teach an old dog new tricks, hey…..