Blood Brothers

Steven Barnes, Author Tor Books $24.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-312-85707-3
Better known for his science fiction, including collaborations with Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle, Barnes (Firedance) here turns to dark fantasy with a story of occultism and race relations that ranges from the days of slavery to the present. Paranormal phenomena, including spontaneous human combustion, and the machinations of some human conspiracy beset the families of two men: Derek Waites, a black programmer of computer games, and Austin Tucker, a former Green beret major who's turned into a white supremacist. Waites investigates, first alone and then with Tucker, discovering that for centuries an African sorcerer and his former slavemaster have been prolonging their lives by preying on others. The magic is well handled, but Barnes often smothers his writing in testosterone, repeatedly referring to Tucker's physical strength and his ""corded"" muscles as if he thought his readers habitually perused the backs of old comic books for muscle-building tips. Better, however, is Barnes's view of racial issues, including a moving journal by a slave matriarch named Dahlia. Although some connections and plot resolutions are forced, the novel ultimately delivers as an exploration (albeit a turgid one) of the temptations and costs of power-both to those who have it and those who are sacrificed to it. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 11/04/1996
Release date: 11/01/1996
Genre: Fiction
Mass Market Paperbound - 978-0-8125-9060-9
Mass Market Paperbound - 416 pages - 978-0-8125-4807-5
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