City Trilogy 1 - Procession Of The Dead Paperback – Sep 8 2008
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'A beguiling read ... a fantastic revelation at the end' SFX 'Explicit, brutal fantasy ... the narrative voice is engagingly cocky and the action races along' The Times 'A crime noir fantasy exploring the darkest corners of power ... a world of secrets and mysteries where nothing and nobody are what they seem' Sun Herald (Australia)
'A beguiling read ! a fantastic revelation at the end' SFX 'Explicit, brutal fantasy ! the narrative voice is engagingly cocky and the action races along' The Times 'A crime noir fantasy exploring the darkest corners of power ! a world of secrets and mysteries where nothing and nobody are what they seem' Sun Herald (Australia) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
Capac Raimi arrives in the city to join his uncle's business, that of small time gangster. He quickly learns the ropes but soon finds himself brought to the attention of The Cardinal. The Cardinal is the gangster who runs the entire city and nothing happens in this city without the the knowledge or approval of The Cardinal.
Life is great for Capac; he may just be the heir that the Cardinal has been looking for. But Capac realizes all is not as he thought it was when people start to disappear and no one remembers them. It is as if they had never existed at all. Thus Capac is propelled forward trying to find these missing people, without The Cardinal's knowledge which is a very dangerous game to play, and at the same time find out just who he is himself.
This is such an intricate plot with twists and turns that kept me reading into the small hours of the night. I found myself gasping out loud at each revelation that the author threw at me. Each turn of the plot left me stunned and eager to read on. This is a wonderful read.
The book is peopled with an eccentric mix of characters. From The Cardinal, who has an almost superhuman rage when angered, to Conchita, an elderly woman with the face of a teenager, to the strange religious cult of blind men who only appear when fog rolls over the city.
This is a dark fantasy, set in a violent world and fortunately, the first in a series. I hope I don't have to wait too long to read the next one! Highly recommended!
Of note, you may not recognize the author's name, D.B. Shan, as he is most well-known as Darren Shan, the author of numerous Young Adult books of terror. This is his first adult novel. Review first written Feb. 8, 2008.
Capac Raimi comes to the City to join his uncle Theo, full of ambition and craving for the criminal life. Then his uncle gets gunned down, and Capac finds himself pulled under the wing of the Cardinal -- the ultimate kingpin who rules the City. And courtesy of his odd name and the Cardinal's superstitious nature, Capac has a very real shot at becoming the old man's successor.
But he soon finds that the City is a strange place -- there are Incan priests, creepy puppets, an old woman with a girl's face, an ageless assassin with snake tattoos on his face, and people who vanish mysteriously without a trace (even from memories). Even stranger, Capac himself cannot remember anything or anyone from before he arrived in the City. What are the secrets of the Ayumarca, and how deeply is the Cardinal entwined in Capac's life?
"Procession of the Dead" is sort of like a cross between "The Godfather" and an early Christopher Nolan movie -- lots of weird stuff, brain-benders and a mob boss who rules everybody with an iron fist. There's a lot of surreal psychological horror woven into this story, and Shan leaves you scratching your head throughout the story as you try to figure out what's going on.
Unfortunately, ideas alone do not a brilliant book make -- "Procession of the Dead" feels vague and bland, and even the creepy scenes (the Cardinal doing divination with human corpses) feel bloodless.Read more ›
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
This is the kind of story where the last hundred pages makes me glad that I stuck with the first two hundred. That's not to say that I didn't enjoy Procession of the Dead until the end, but that last third was fantastic. I see how some readers wouldn't get into this story, so I think my job here is doubly important. I need to make sure that you get a feel for this book without spoiling it in any way.
I was confused when I first started reading, because I heard somewhere that this is an urban fantasy. It is, but that won't become apparent until the end, and that's wildly different from the usual UFs I read. I also think it's important to point out that this is a dark urban fantasy. You know what that means right? Don't look for somebody to ride in wearing a white hat for a triumphant finale of good over evil.
Much of this book reads like a piece of mafia/crime fiction. Everything spins around the criminal elements in The City (we never learn which one), and our hero is a wannabe gangster whose grandiose ambitions intersects with the head honcho, The Cardinal. The way the fantasy elements unfold completely took me by surprise. I never saw a hint of what was coming, and every few pages I was shocked again and again and again. I like being surprised as much as anything, and that's why this book ended on such a high note for me. I'm marveling at how this was crafted, rather than the content itself, which is closer to a horror novel than anything else by the end.
Procession of the Dead will be released in the U.S. on June 4, 2010. As far as I know, it's already available in many other countries. The next two books in the series are Hell's Horizon (January 5, 2011), and City of the Snakes (TBA).
The story is supposedly science fiction - and ultimately it ends in that way - but at it's heart I found it to be a gripping life of crime story, with the gritty portrayal of "The City" (aka London, England in the distant future) as equally interesting as the characters in the book.
Capac Raimi is an upstart young man on his way to "The City" to make a life for himself by working with his uncle. When he gets there, he is ushered into the underbelly of what makes The City tick - good ol' fashioned mafia crime. After a chance encounter, Capac is recruited by the head honcho of the city, a man referred to primarily as the Cardinal. Soon Capac is on his way to the top - training by day as an insurance salesman and spending his nights enjoying the luxuries of being one of the Cardinal's chosen few, including a friendship with a mysterious resident at his hotel complex, and a romance with an undercover siren.
Things start to turn ugly when Capac realizes his memory of anything prior to The City is nearly non-existent, and even worse when the memories of those around him start to forget his friends that mysteriously 'disappear' under the Cardinal's orders. Capac's friendships and romance with Ama Situwa both threaten his position but equally help him start to uncover the twisted web the Cardinal has woven, including his final plans for Capac.
I can't say much more than that without giving the plot away - but I will say this is easily my favourite book of 2008. The story is extremely fast-paced and shocking, with twists at every corner that never fail to surprise and scare you. Rarely have I read a book that gets my heart racing the way this one did - it was a page turner in every sense of the phrase. The characters were interesting and dynamic, the descriptions only benefitted the story rather than take away from it, and the final showdown(s) were excellently written. The only downside is the final explanation of the story is so implausible compared to the somewhat plausible premise otherwise - in that sense I'd advise keeping in mind this is a 'science fiction/fantasy' book because it does factor in. I didn't feel cheated by the ending, but it wasn't my favourite either. Still, an EXCELLENT read.
Capac Raimi is a cypher, just what Darren Shan intended. Capac Raimi, young and ambitious and suffering from memory loss, steps off the train and straight into this sinister unnamed megapolis, and it's quickly divulged that Capac means to be a ruthless gangster, with his crooked uncle promising to mentor him into this life of crime. But one treads lightly in the city. There's a pecking order in the underworld. The city is ruled by The Cardinal, this enigmatic, universally deified figure, and The Cardinal is so intimidating and so mythic a man that even the "The" part of his name is capitalized. Capac Raimi, new to town, watchful and learning fast, is shocked when The Cardinal - in very violent fashion - summons him to a personal audience. Capac Raimi is going places. Capac Raimi isn't so sure he wants to go there. The Cardinal is a scary mothereffer.
PROCESSION OF THE DEAD has things going for it, things going against. One deterrent may possibly be the sense of bleakness which occasionally blankets the story. But fans of film noir may fancy this. For me, primarily, the sticking point is that I found it hard to get emotionally invested in the central character. Capac comes off as an impenetrable and soulless anti-hero - although, as it turns out, there may be a reason for that - and whatever likable qualities there were in his persona are eventually stripped away. Capac Raimi's journey is bizarre and peril fraught, and marked with nerve-wracking encounters with The Cardinal. En route he is compelled into committing despicable acts. I can see why Darren O'Shaughnessy wanted his normal reading public to steer clear of this one. His young fans may go into shock reading the nasty, squirmy stuff that unfolds here.
I'm a bit torn. I don't care much for the protagonist, but I relished the imagination which went into the thing, as well as the tone which is in equal parts feverish and surreal, gothic and grotesque (and, as mentioned, bleak). Characters created by Tim Powers and Neil Gaiman would feel at home rubbing elbows with Shan's City dwellers, who are strange and marvelous: the old woman whose face gets younger every year; a feared assassin, oddly long-lived with facial snake tattoos; friends who suddenly vanish, all records and recollection of them vanishing in accord. Shan's world-building finds a place for James Cagney and Singin' In The Rain and Gary Larson's the Far Side, these familiar things sharing space with the macabre, with green fogs and blind Incan priests and puppets with beating hearts. The big, awesome revelation at the end makes sense of it all and, I think, makes up for much of what's negative about the book. It certainly convinced me to try to get ahold of HELL'S HORIZON, of which storyline runs parallel to PROCESSION OF THE DEAD, and CITY OF SNAKES which catches us up with Capac Raimi ten years after. This looks to be a very interesting, very dark, and discomfiting series. Reading PROCESSION OF THE DEAD you may find yourself ill at ease, shifting in your armchair, trying to find that good space in your head. You may not find it. That alone makes this book worth a look.
3.5 out of 5 stars.
The first half of the book is mainly action and suspense, and it isn't until the latter half that the paranormal aspects of the plot are revealed. There are a few scenes of graphic violence and sex in the book that I found a little unappealing, but they fit with the dark feel of the book. The story starts out a little slow, but it picks up steam quickly. Overall, I found it moderately enjoyable, but it was a bit darker and more meandering than I prefer.