NB This post first appeared as part of the Blog Tour for ‘When the Children Come’ by Barry Kirwan, via Rachel’s Random Resources.
Traumatised from tours of duty in Afghanistan, Nathan’s existence is a lonely one. Then one New Year’s Eve he meets Lara and for one night his life begins to look promising. But the following day, something odd happens – a girl from a neighbouring family appears at his front door pleading for help. And that’s not the only weird thing going on…
What would you do if you woke up one day and the whole world had gone mad? Faced with a bizarre situation, our hero takes his new girlfriend and a frightened child and sets off to his sister’s house, hoping she at least will be normal. But normal has packed up and left and Nathan’s life, and everyone else’s, will never be the same.
One of the things that irritates me about some sci-fi novels is that so often it feels like the author doesn’t have a clue and simply regurgitates what so many other writers have already done. This is not one of those novels. This is the first book I’ve read by this author, so I wasn’t sure what to expect, but from the first page it had me riveted. Barry Kirwan is not only a brilliant storyteller, but he also has the background knowledge to bring a realism to his tale that is at times mind-boggling. The detail may come from research or personal experience (at least as far as Nathan’s earthbound adventures go) but they give the book a depth that makes it feel real and truly believable. I loved the interactions and conflicts with the different characters and the experience each one brings to the table as the reality of their situation unfolds.
A terrific read that kept me engrossed right to the end.
I was born in Farnborough and grew up watching the Red Arrow jet fighters paint the sky at airshows. I didn’t get into writing until years later when I arrived in Paris, where I penned The Eden Paradox series (four books) over a period of ten years. My SF influences were Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke, Frank Herbert, and Orson Scott Card, but also David Brin who writes about smart aliens. Iain Banks and Alistair Reynolds remain major influences, as well as Neal Asher, Peter F Hamilton and Jack McDevitt.
My main SF premise is that if we do ever meet aliens, they’ll probably be far more intelligent than we are, and with very different values and ideas of how the galaxy works. As a psychologist by training, that interests me in terms of how to think outside our own (human) frame of reference.
When I’m not writing, I’m either working (my day job), which is preventing mid-air collisions, reading, or doing yoga or tai chi. When I’m on holiday I’m usually diving, looking for sharks. Most times I find them, or rather, they find me.
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This is a great review, Colin. I also don’t like books that are a repeat of something I’ve read before. I like unique and clever.
Absolutely – too many writers regurgitate what’s been done before. Cheers, Robbie 😉
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Colin, many many thanks for this superb review. So glad you liked the story-telling and the background to the characters which did, indeed, involve a lot of research, especially for Nathan. Thanks again!
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You’re very welcome, Barry 🙂