Monday, January 26, 2015

THE LUPANE LEGACY by Darby Holladay

THE LUPANE LEGACY by Darby Holladay is narrated by Paul Heitsch, and is a cross genre literary suspense that amounts to a lesson in African culture and politics, centered on a man named Patrick whose family history as victim in an atrocity in Rhodesia as a child sparks rekindled emotions for revenge when he sees an old film. It's a bit wordy and unfocused as a suspense or romance. As a different kind of listening experience, however, it fits the bill as a study of character and interesting account of the shifting loyalties which despots of such regimes attract. Heitsch narrated one of my own novels, which was also cross genre, so the question of reader expectations arises, too. If you go into such books looking to check off every cliche and convention, you'll be disappointed. Remote African villages don't sell Big Macs. (Well, at least not yet.) So the special sauce might taste different, (if predictable is what you demand.) But how many novels are set in Zimbabwe these days? The advantage of listening to stories set in other cultures or other times is that they allow you to see life from a viewpoint otherwise unknown to you, and this gives you perspective on your own life, thereby decreasing stress and anxiety. (Your own life is likely to seem privileged by comparison.) Besides, why does everything have to be judged by the standard of a pop slasher novel? Of course there are suspense plot twists here. So when you're given a familiar script upfront, and a slower backstory comes, readers or listeners may get bored. I was not bored, and don't expect or enjoy books that are relentlessly played out, with nothing new to learn or discover. That said, some of the scenes seem padded, and the romance is nothing extraordinary (or escapist.) Yet overall, a worthwhile effort for a debut by a writer familiar with the military intelligence game, and first of a promised trilogy that is more complex (like real life) than most of the genre specific clones which popular authors grind out every year.

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