Canadian writer Randal Belaire has done something special with this book: he has managed to create an experience that is both a lot of fun and very involving and compelling at the same time. The Shadow Chaser's war is one that will suck readers in before they know it and will have them rooting for the good guys and hating the bad guys like a great adventure should.
The book's story is one of a heroic legacy as it's passed from one bearer to another. The tale begins with Arthur Brown, the original Shadow Chaser, as he undertakes a rescue that turns out to be the final mission as his mysterious alter-ego. A wound leaves Brown unable to continue his work as the mysterious vigilante, who's like a combination of Batman, Moon Knight, The Shadow, and Iron Man. In self-pity, Brown becomes a bum until his friend, wealthy businessman Alexander Taylor, picks him up out of the gutter and helps fund the continuation of Brown's brilliant work as a scientist.
The tale then picks up years later as Brown yearns to continue his work as The Shadow Chaser but Taylor can't see the sense in it... until a personal tragedy strikes Taylor's life and causes him to reconsider. In order for The Shadow Chaser's work to begin again, technological advancements are made in the development of Shadow Chaser's gadgets, a whole team of agents and contacts are hired to aid the quest for justice, and all that's needed is a new bearer of The Shadow Chaser's mantle. The team finds that bearer in Kevin Wolf, a high schooler touched by the pain and tragedy of losing his true love at the hands of a criminal...
If you pick this book up expecting an all-out action tale, you may be a little disappointed. Don't get me wrong: there are some great action sequences in "The Resurgence...", but it's not all about the action. What Belaire does to a great effect is get into the heads of the characters in the story- both the people behind the mask and those around them- and shows how the events of the tale affect their lives. The tragedies that affect the characters- Kevin's girlfriend's murder, the death and handicapping of Taylor's wife and daughter, and even the "off screen" death of Brown's wife- are truly sorrowful affairs. They are the pebbles dropped into the pond of the story, and the ripples from these pebbles radiate outward in all directions. The book has a great heart and feels at times less like a novel and more like a graphic novel in prose form. Often, elements of "The Resurgence..." reminded me of the fun action and superhero movies of the 80's and 90's, and I mean that in a good way. Think of Tim Burton's "Batman" and Sam Raimi's "Darkman". I'm not sure what it was, but the book made me think fondly of these films.
The only reason why the book doesn't get a higher rating with me is some of the formatting and editing. The first line in each paragraph isn't indented, only the first line for each chapter and sub-chapter section. This sounds minor, but it led to some confusion for me at times and may not affect all readers in the same way. There were also a few times when the past- and present-tenses got jumbled or confused. Also, the book's style reminded me a lot of a movie script: there is a lot of dialogue to carry the story and while this is one of the best and most unique things about Belaire's style, there were a few times when the dialogue fell flat.
These are really minor blips, however, and really shouldn't detract from the overall reading experience. This is a superhero/new pulp/action-adventure novel that will have you begging for more. There are plot threads that have been begun within this book that should come back in the upcoming sequel and I, for one, am really, really looking forward to the further Chronicles of The Shadow Chaser.