cover image The Two Georges

The Two Georges

Wallace, Richard Dreyfuss. Tor Books, $23.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-312-85969-5

Will Oscar-winning actor Dreyfuss collect any new awards for his first novel, coauthored with a Hugo-winning master of alternative SF (Worldwar: Tilting the Balance, Forecasts, Jan. 22)? Probably not, but the talented thespian won't get the hook for his rookie writing, either, as he partners on an entertaining detective story set in a present-day North American Union, still a colony of the British Empire. Thomas Bushell and Samuel Stanley of the Royal American Mounties must find the famous Gainsborough painting of The Two Georges--showing Washington kneeling to the king--that has been stolen by the subversive Sons of Liberty while on traveling exhibit. The Mounties are accompanied by the exhibit's curator, Kathleen Flannery, who's helpful but may be collaborating with the Sons. Their cross-country search shows off a lower-tech world, in which people get around in dirigibles and steamer cars, and old-style powers like Austria, Prussia and the Ottoman Empire vie for dominance. The authors' alternate globe is recognizable yet delightfully distorted; in this looking-glass, engaging characters play out a suspenseful and satisfying story. (Mar.)