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on Feb. 11, 2011 :
From the very start I loved this book. The quirky sense of humour which pervades everything from place names to events right through to myths and lore is reminiscent of Tom Holt, Terry Pratchett and even at times, Douglas Adams. With a sometimes quite cowardly hero, Curtis Kalashnikov, the Detective Inspector of the rudimentary Lodnun Police Force as its hero Pogrom sets about explaining exactly what the title is about. With me so far? Good then perhaps you can explain it to me.
A pogrom is a nasty thing, the extermination of a people or race. History is peppered with such things from the earliest of times to the current day. The difference with the titular pogrom is that it is totally fictitious but nonetheless truthful. Someone is out to get the Hoplins, they want nothing less than to drive them out of the land of Lodzamonkeze.
The mystery begins with an explosion at brewery which is blamed on the Yak’s milk drinking Hoplins. It then deepens with bombings of local pubs by the HERA, the supposed Hoplin freedom fighters. Further atrocities are attributed to the peaceable Hoplins until the city of Lodnun is in revolt. The mystery deepens and then shrouds itself in a veil of mist.
Or hero is framed for the whole nasty thing and is cast into the Lord Prefect’s dungeon to rot out his days. That is until a non-existent dragon and a very pretty witch get involved with Kalashnikov and turn his already topsy turvy world completely inside out and then shove it in a sack and attempt to drown it. From here on the whole world of Lodzamonkeze is cast into utter turmoil right until the bitter end, which Clive Newnham sweetens with a dab of sherbet and just a hint of minty freshness.
This is Clive Newnham’s first novel which he has self published at lulu.com, do not be put off by this. Pogrom is a superb story told in a gentle fireside tone with the lights dimmed just a little. Let the flickering flames of Clive’s dulcet tones draw you into the off-beat world of the Hoplins. You’ll soon be imagining the Dickensian cities and knights in armour battling dragons and the cloud boarding headless sorcerers as they all fight for freedom and justice and some fresh yak’s milk. Watch and smile as d’Earth scythes her way across the battlefields handing out life stories to the recently dead. Snigger and titter at the shenanigans of the endearing Hoplins then boo and hiss at the corrupt members of the secret services that would kill and maim for fine pair of stockings.
The more I read this fantasy the more I wanted to read it. The story is well crafted with great dialogue with, as I mentioned before, has a sense of humour that permeates everything. Congratulations are in order Mr Newnham, I raise to you a glass of Yak’s milk with a resounding ‘here here, and bravo.” Long may the series continue.
(reviewed the day of purchase)