The Trials of Koli

M.R. Carey. Orbit, $16.99 trade paper (496p) ISBN 978-0-356-51349-2
Carey broadens the scope of his Rampart trilogy in this solid second adventure (following The Book of Koli) set in a dangerous, postapocalyptic England in which technology is taboo and nature itself, mutated amid civilization’s destruction, is a constant threat. Now an exile from the oppressive village of Mythen Rood, Koli Woodsmith, together with a motley crew of human and robotic companions, sets out to find the fabled land of London, following a signal from a mysterious entity called Sword of Albion. Meanwhile, Koli’s former friend Spinner Vennastin gets married in Mythen Rood. But there are soldiers on the move who will kill to take all surviving tech they find, and Spinner learns the only way to save her village may be with the same forbidden technology that could get her shot by the soldiers or hanged by her own people. Readers who were frustrated by Koli’s dialect in the first installment will continue to struggle with his voice (“There come a time, by and by, when I feared we was not going to get to London at all”), but the broader cast brings welcome relief and diversity. Branching out from Mythen Rood was also a good choice, allowing Carey space to build a broken world that is both marvelously expansive and claustrophobically menacing. New readers will have no trouble jumping in here, and fans of postapocalyptic science fiction will find plenty to hold their attention. (Sept.)
Reviewed on : 06/24/2020
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Horror
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