Sunday, January 06, 2013

The Dirty Streets of Heaven -- Tad Williams

I've never been tempted to read Tad Williams in the past because his books are so long.  However, I liked the idea of this one, and it was only (!) 400 pages, so I thought I'd give it a shot.

Bobby Dollar, the narrator, is an angel.  He has an earthly body and gets to live on earth and enjoy earthly pleasures as an advocate, an angel who debates with demons for the fate of the souls of the departed in Bobby's area (somewhere south of San Francisco, in the fictional city of Saint Judas) along with other advocates.  Then something odd happens.  A soul disappears.

That's not all.  There's a maguffin, and some powerful demons believe Bobby has it.  Bobby's just an ordinary angel, and the things coming after him are considerably beyond his powers and experience.

Throw in visits to what I suppose we could call heaven, a beautiful demon called the Countess of the Cold Hands for some hot angel/ demon hanky-panky, and a description of the vast bureaucracy that Bobby works for.  That's a lot, but there's more.  Bobby begins to suspect that even heaven might not be perfect.  No one's ever seen the Highest.  Does he even exist?  What about all the other earthly religions?  Do they have angel analogues?  And there's that angel trainee that Bobby's friend Sam has been saddled with.  What about him?

By now you probably have a pretty good idea about whether this is your kind of book.  If you're familiar with current fantasy trends, you know that it's only the first of a trilogy and that a lot of questions will go unanswered at the end.  I liked it enough to consider reading the following books, though I did find it too long.  Some of the chase scenes went on for quite a while.  I guess all that's expected in a fantasy.  I prefer the leaner stuff, but, as I said, I'm willing to give the next one in this series a look.

1 comment:

Todd Mason said...

I've been meaning to give him a try since TAILCHASER'S SONG, and think I have read a single or two short items by him...(slight title typo here)...