Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Book Blog Tour of John Shirley's Bleak History

Bleak History
I'm excited to participate in the Blog Tour of John Shirley's Bleak History. Even before I read Bleak History, I was a fan of John Shirley's work. I especially loved the film The Crow with Brandon Lee.

Review of Bleak History by John Shirley


Set in some parallel dimension of New York City, Bleak History describes a world where a subset of the population have special powers. A top secret division of Homeland Security has been monitoring the growing emergence of human supernaturals. Capturing and co-opting them for military purposes, the CCA has seemingly limitless power. At the start of Bleak History, CCA has set agents to capture Gabriel Bleak, one of the strongest of the supernaturals. CCA believes that Gabriel Bleak is the key to accessing the Hidden, an entity based energy field that connects all life on Earth.

Gabriel Bleak stands out because of his level of control and the strength of his power. Even as a child, Gabriel could communicate with the dead, pull energy from the Hidden and force energy to take shape. Aside from his supernatural abilities, Gabriel has the skills learned from military service to help him to keep this power hidden and stay under the radar as a bounty hunter or "skip tracer". CCA's aggressive campaign forces Gabriel Bleak into an alliance with a growing underground movement known as the Shadow Community.

CCA agent Loriane Sarikosca is a key player in the campaign to capture Gabriel Bleak. New to the agency, Agent Sarikosca is troubled by her superiors' willingness to sacrifice civil liberties and their callous treatment of captured supernatural. As she dives into her assignment, Agent Sarikosca keeps recalling Gabriel Bleak's question: "Way it is now, anybody can be detained. So I guess I won't ask what authority you have. But what excuse do you have?"


Fast paced and action packed, Bleak History read like a movie. John Shirley carefully built up the alternate reality and the references to New York locations added to the books appeal. While the villians of the piece weren't complex, Gabriel Bleak and Agent Sarikosca were strong, sympathetic characters. Gabriel Bleak's strong sense of humanity is one of the best parts of the novel.

I enjoy these types of fantasy novels. Bleak History reminded me at times of the TV series Heroes and of the movie The Matrix. I'd recommend Bleak History to anyone who enjoys fantasy.

Publisher: Pocket (August 18, 2009), 384 pages.
Courtesy of the publisher.

About the Author, courtesy of his website:

John Shirley is the author of more than 30 novels including Bleak History (forthcoming, 2009, Smon & Schuster) Demons, Crawlers, Wetbones, and In Darkness Waiting. His novel City Come-A-Walkin' and theA Song Called Youth trilogy -- Eclipse, Eclipse Corona, and Eclipse Penumbra are considered landmarks of cyberpunk science fiction. His short stories have been collected in half-a-dozen collections. He is the recipient of the Bram Stoker Award and the International Horror Guild Award for his collection Black Butterflies (Mark V. Ziesing). Shirley's fronted punk bands and written lyrics for his own music, as well as for Blue Öyster Cult and other bands. A principal screenwriter for The Crow, Shirley now devotes most of his time to writing for television and film. The URL for the official John Shirley Web site is is http://www.john-shirley.com.

Bleak History Blog Tour

I Heart Monster: http://www.iheartmonster.com/
Debbie’s World of Books: http://debbiesworldofbooks.com/
Sci-Fi Guy: http://www.scifiguy.ca/
A Journey of Books: http://ajourneyofbooks.blogspot.com/
Simply Vamptastic: http://www.simplyvamptastic.com/
Starting Fresh: http://startingfresh-gaby317.blogspot.com/
Booksie’s Blog: http://booksiesblog.blogspot.com/
Readaholic: http://bridget3420.blogspot.com/
Falling Off The Shelf: http://fallingofftheshelf.blogspot.com/
Patricia’s Vampire Notes: http://patricias-vampire-notes.blogspot.com/
My Friend Amy: http://www.myfriendamysblog.com/
Reading With Monie: http://www.readingwithmonie.com/
Cheryl’s Book Nook: http://cherylsbooknook.blogspot.com/
Morbid Romantic: http://www.morbid-romantic.net/
Drey’s Library: http://dreyslibrary.blogspot.com/
Temple Library Reviews: http://templelibraryreviews.blogspot.com/
Jeanne’s Ramblings: http://jeannesgifts.blogspot.com/
Never Not Reading: http://nevernotreading.blogspot.com/
My Guilty Pleasures: http://www.mgpblog.com/
Fantasy Freak: http://fantastyfreak.blogspot.com/

Thanks so much to Sarah and Pocket Books for this opportunity!

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