Ad Eternum: This newest chapter is a treat

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsfantasy book review Elizabeth Bear New Amsterdam The White CityAd Eternum by Elizabeth Bear

In 1962, vampire-detective Sebastien, having adopted the name ‘Jack Prior,’ returns from Europe to New Amsterdam, arriving not by airship but airplane. As he attempts to re-establish himself in the new world, he makes the acquaintance of a clique of sorcerers who invite him to join them in an ambitious endeavor. But old — indeed, ancient — habits die hard, and Sebastien must chart the course of his eternal voyage while buffeted by public protests against vampires and the sudden return of someone powerful from his past.

Ad Eternum (2012) is the fourth book by Elizabeth Bear featuring Sebastien. One should first read New Amsterdam, The White City, and Seven for a Secret, after which this newest chapter is a treat. At the risk of repeating myself, the tale and Ms. Bear’s writing are elegant and subtle. My only complaint, for lack of a better word, is that this chapter is so brief, and once again, I found myself wanting more.

There is a definite artistic effect, though, created by the waiting period between books: the reader has the sense of years passing in the world of the story and returns to it eagerly wondering what changes have transpired — and who has died. I do hope we’ll see Sebastien and his acquaintances again, if only to discover his reaction to modern technology. Certainly, a Twitter account seems unlikely.

Published in 2012. For centuries, the wampyr has drifted from one place to another. From one life to another. It’s 1962, and he’s returned to New Amsterdam for the first time since he fled it on pain of death some sixty years before. On the eve of social revolution, on the cusp of a new way of life, he’s nevertheless surrounded by inescapable reminders of who he used to be. For a thousand years, he’s chosen to change rather than to die. Now, at last, he faces a different future….

Elizabeth Bear New Amsterdam, Seven for a SecretElizabeth Bear New Amsterdam, Seven for a SecretElizabeth Bear The White CityElizabeth Bear Ad Eternumfantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews


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ROB RHODES was graduated from The University of the South and The Tulane University School of Law and currently works as a government attorney. He has published several short stories and is a co-author of the essay “Sword and Sorcery Fiction,” published in Books and Beyond: The Greenwood Encyclopedia of New American Reading. In 2008, Rob was named a Finalist in The L. Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future Contest. Rob retired from FanLit in September 2010 after more than 3 years at FanLit. He still reviews books and conducts interviews for us occasionally. You can read his latest news at Rob's blog.

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