by Vaughan Rapatahana
I very much enjoyed the story told here. Maybe I should not limit the review to a singular story since the style of the “Novel” is that of weaving a number of, at first, seemingly unrelated storylines together to carry the tale along.
It is fair to say that this story involves a majority of the issues facing the world today but without being opinionated or preachy. For example, the struggle for Superpower dominance, the collusion required to achieve it and the ongoing struggle for justice in various colonies around the world. Including Aotearoa.
The effectiveness of the modern-day hacker to destabilize the power hungry, and even the exploitation of the poor and immigrant workers we see so much of today play important parts in the whole. All extremely current and complicated topics and, in hindsight, one would wonder how they could all be covered in one novel but this “Novel” does so with good effect.
The tale is delivered in a very modern style, which I enjoyed, but I did find the smatterings of more romantic imagery to be distracting and ill-befitting of what is otherwise a good tale well told. The episodic style should provide the opportunity for the writer to create some degree of suspense as we exit a chapter and, for me, that opportunity was mostly missed. I noticed this more towards the end of the book where the tension could have been built more effectively in this way.
Ruby’s only real desire is to visit her adult children but her mysterious partner Dr Cross is holding her back. Norton is on the run from a crime he did not commit, his lawyer and old army buddy Monaghan has disappeared while Godfrey Woo is trying to avoid the Triad hitmen. This plot has a geographical spread from Aotearoa to Hong Kong, the Philippines to Guam and is effectively brought together through the eyes of the main characters. Throw in a handful of tech savvy student hackers uncovering and leaking evidence of high level corruption and collusion in Asia, an uprising of Maori activists hiding away in the bush of Ruatahuna in the Urewera and the ineptitude of some “intelligence” operatives who are trying to put a lid on the whole thing, and the result is “Novel”.
“Novel” gives us a glimpse of what our future might look like either leading up to the Apocalypse or perhaps pulling us back from the brink. We are not taken far enough to confirm which, but there may be some hope.
Author: Vaughan Rapatahana
Publisher: Rangitawa Publishing
RRP: $38 + postage
Available: Print from Rangitawa Publishing, Amazon, Wheelers Book Club (online) and by request from any good book shop. Ebook for Kindle from Amazon.