Magpie’s Lament: Blindsided Review

I just finished reading a short novel called Magpie’s Lament: Blindsided. I had bought this as an ebook from a web site called Lulu. The ebook was $4.64 in United States dollars. I will put a link for purchasing at the end of this paragraph. I liked this book enough that I wanted to write a review about it and then throw the review up on my blog. I will try to avoid any spoilers or giving away any surprises in the story.

Magpie’s Lament: Blindsided by Jonathan Peace

All the other posts on my blog are related somehow to miniature models that are used in fantasy and science fiction war games. That is the usual content for this blog but this post is going to be an exception. The author of the book, Jonathan Peace, also writes fluff for the company Mantic Games. I have posted enough about Mantic’s various products in the past that readers will know I love Mantic Games. I happened across a couple of different short stories that Jonathan Peace wrote for Mantic. I read these both, because they were set in the science fiction world of Warpath, which is a Mantic game. I didn’t really expect to like them very much.  I was just reading them because they were short and also they relate to my model painting hobby. I did like them quite a bit, to my surprise. I ended up buying the Magpie’s Lament novel just because I was impressed with these short stories.

Aggressive Negotiations (A Warpath Short Story by Jonathan Peace)

Hador’s Promise (A Warpath Short Story by Jonathan Peace)

Magpie’s Lament is the first part of a three part trilogy. The next book is predicted to be ready in April 2012. Then in September 2012 the last part is supposed to be ready. Since my first exposure to Jonathan Peace’s writing was with these two Warpath stories, I assumed that Magpie’s Lament was going to be more of the same. I was expecting to read a story with space ships, laser guns, alien creatures and such. It isn’t a science fiction book like that. Since that is not what it is all about, my next thought was there would be wizards, dragons, magic spells and all those types of things. It isn’t a fantasy novel either. It is hard to pick a genre for this book. If I had to pick one I would say that it is a horror story. That could also be misleading because most people when they think of horror stories, expect some kind of supernatural elements. I think that there are going to be ghosts or vampires or gory satanic rituals that create terrible magical disasters. Even if there is not any supernatural stuff then you think a horror books is going to feature some serial killing murderer with a lot of gore. I want to stop here and insert this quotation from Magpie’s Lament: Blindsided. The protagonist Nathaniel Storm is fielding questions from his fans at a book signing event. Here is the dialogue.

“Now that’s another good question,” [Nathaniel Storm] said. “but I don’t consider myself a writer of scary stories, not like early Stephen King or James Herbert anyway.”
“But White Fog has ghosts in it and Down the Darkened Path has a possessed child, all staples of the horror writer,” [the fan] replied.
“Yes, there are elements of the supernatural in my books but the story is about the dark inside each and every one of us and about the even darker places they can lead us to. You could remove the more fantastic elements of the novels and still be left with some memorable characters, people whose very nature which is shown by the choices and decisions they make with their lives and those of others, particularly those closest to them, the ones they are supposed to love, now that should scare you, rather than the more fantastical parts like the ghosts of Fog, the ghoulish acts of the doctor in Damned or the demon in Path.
“They should scare you – they certainly scared the shit out of me when I was writing them. Take White Fog for example,” [Nathaniel Storm] continued.
“The murder of anyone is horrific but that of a child . . . that’s the true horror in my book, if you’ll excuse the pun.”

I cannot help but think that this quotation reveals the author’s own mindset while writing Magpie’s Lament Blindsided. This book is a horror story with no supernatural occurrences and no gory killings. It is a horror story driven by “the dark inside each and every one of us.” Here is a picture of the author brooding over the “dark inside each and every one of us.”

So some how I ended up reading this book which has no lasers and no dragons. What is even a bit stranger than that is that I actually liked it. The protagonist Nathaniel Storm is someone that I really started to like more and more as I got to know him. He has his strengths which I admire. He has his failings with which I empathize because I share many of the same failings. I enjoyed reading this story and I was surprised by the end. I am looking forward to getting a hold of the other two parts in the trilogy. I suppose that I should warn readers that this is an unusually short book, less than half as long as most novels. I think it was about ninety pages or a little more than that. It was a great story. It was a good reminder to someone trapped in the fantasy and science fiction world that there are all kinds of great stories outside of those genres. By the end of the book, I found myself totally invested the future of my friend Nathaniel Storm. I have to find out what happens to the guy. I hope he makes it alright. Now I have to wait to find out! Nuts. Best wishes to you my readers.


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