Anyway, I've decided that I'm going to start posting a representative review of one book from each of my columns. Hopefully it will entice people to buy the book and the magazine! I honestly don't think the magazine receives the respect it deserves, especially around award time. Editor Shawna McCarthy really does a superb job.
So without further ado . . .
Christ-like figures have been a notable feature of Gene Wolfe’s novels for some time. Wolfe is a Catholic, and Christianity is often present by implication or allegory in his fiction, whether called by that or some other name, yet I can’t recall Wolfe ever incorporating his religion as overtly into a novel as he does in Pirate Freedom (Tor, New York, hardcover, 320 pp., $24.95, ISBN: 978-0-7653-1878-7). That alone makes this deceptively breezy book a significant one for avid readers of this fascinating writer. Beneath the irresistibly sun-splashed surface of a boy’s own adventure story set aboard pirate ships cruising the Caribbean in the early 18th century is a novel that raises profound questions about faith, religion, and the consequences of attempting to discern, and live in accordance with, God’s will and Christ’s example. It’s a haunting book, a surprisingly dark book, whose shadows counterpoint the Caribbean sun, a book I found distasteful in many ways. It is also a small masterpiece.