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Tuesday, 11 August 2015

The Map of Chaos - Felix J. Palma


Welcome, dear reader, as you plunge into the pages of our final melodrama, where fresh adventures await you even more astonishing than the last!

Before embarking on this story, be sure to go onto the end of the book, where you will find the cast of characters who will accompany you.

If time travel and Martian invasions were not enough to quicken your pulse, you are invited to venture into a world inhabited by ghosts and other monsters of the mind.

You may wish to reconsider before reading on. However, it is my duty to warn you that if you lose courage, you will never discover what lies beyond the world you think you know....



........So the welcome section explains in one of the most extraordinary books I have read for some time. However, my reading The Map of Chaos almost never happened.

The reason as to why I almost missed out came initially when I was contacted by Scribe Publications UK telling me that in August Spanish author Félix J. Palma, the New York Times bestselling author of The Map of Time and The Map of the Sky, returns with the final instalment in his bestselling, award-winning trilogy. The good people at Scribe then asked me if I would be interested in reviewing it and well to be perfectly honest, I was reluctant to do so. Quite simply, I hadn't read the first two in the series and being a man whose time is increasingly precious and taken up with any number of important blogging responsibilities. I simply didn't have time to read them before looking at the third one. However, after reading the welcome section above, in particular the last sentence my interest was not only piqued, it well and truly felt challenged. Besides which, it wouldn't be the first time that I would have read books out of chronological order......Lacking courage, Moi???!!!

My reluctance was further diminished when I was assured that I could safely read the book without having any prior knowledge of the previous plots. I decided to take up the authors challenge, though not before doing just a small amount of research (there I go again sounding all professional-like with that 'researching' stuff) and finding just a brief summary of what had gone before.


The first of the series, The Map of Time, is an imaginative multi-structured storyline which brings together a collection of real and fictional characters from the Victorian era. Here we find weaved around murder mystery and time travel, a narrative that links a heartbroken lover of a victim of Jack the Ripper, but also a Victorian feminist who yearns to free herself from her social shackles and live in a time where she can be truer to herself. Finally, we also find the writer, H.G Wells, who is desperately attempting to save both lives and literary classics being wiped from existence. 

If you add to that mix, a haunted house, well blimey, it's hardly brief on varied narrative is it?

The second instalment, The Map of the Sky, is another multi-strand chronicle that blurs any distinction between fiction and history; we have one story involving the writer Edgar Allen Poe as an arctic explorer who encounters something very John Carpenter-esque in the frozen wilderness, our friend H.G. Wells once again appears and who this time is living out his very own literary fight against a Martian invasion. If that wasn't enough, there is also there's a healthy dollop of Ray Bradbury inspired storytelling. Again, it all sounds rather brilliantly insane.




So what, pray tell, is the final book about?.......well......

In The Map of Chaos........... " The world teeters on the brink of disaster, and salvation can only be found in 'The Map of Chaos', an obscure book that the Palma's mysterious protagonist is desperate to find. In his search, he is given invaluable help by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Lewis Carroll, and by H.G. Wells, whose Invisible Man seems to have escaped from the pages of his famous novel to sow terror among mankind." 

At well not too far short of 600 pages, as I've already alluded to, there is a huge amount of inter-connecting storyline to fit in. It starts of with a delicious prologue story featuring H.G. Wells and Charles Dodgson (Lewis Carroll) in a battle to save humanity. Then in the first chapter we begin to witness the other main character of the book, Inspector Cornelius Clayton, who is battling with the loss of the woman he loved after solving a series of brutal supernatural killings. However, soon he comes into possession of the fabled novel, The Map of Chaos which will not only see him battle with more nasty and other-worldly forces, but will also see him cross the paths of old H.G, as well as a host of other classic luminaries.

In essence, The Map of Chaos simply has to be read to be believed. Please do not be put off by the prospect of a multi-layered storyline. Yes it is complex in parts but it is quite simply a wonderfully textured and layered piece of writing that not only makes for an ingenious plot but also brings alive the real and imagined characters with at constantly sparkling and witty dialogue.

Palma is clearly a lover of all things Wells and Victorian science fiction (as am I) and he infuses the proceedings with a genuine authentic style and panache to both the language and the feel of this spiritualist era. Add to that a rather delectable slice of Steampunk infusion and you have perhaps the most enjoyable read that I have experience in a long, long time. This is a book, and especially the style of the expansive plot line, that simply shouldn't work - but believe me, it really does. I read this book in three glorious days, it was a shame to have to come back to reality though as soon as I did I immediately ordered the first two books in the series. 

Scribe Publications are publishing this as an e-book only release in August, the novel has already got a heap of favourable reviews since its release in the States. 



So who is this Félix J. Palma fella? 

Well, it seems he has been acclaimed by critics as one of the most brilliant and original storytellers of our time. His devotion to the short story genre has earned him more than a hundred awards. 

The Map of Time, his first book published in the United States, was an instant New York Times bestseller and received the prestigious 2008 Ateneo de Sevila XL Prize. It has been published in more than thirty countries. He is also the author of the critically acclaimed The Map of the Sky. Palma lives in Spain. 

To find our more about to order the ebook and information about this wonderful trilogy then check out the following links;

You can find out how to order the book via the Scribe Publications UK website at https://scribepublications.co.uk

The Facebook page for Felix J. Palma can be found at https://www.facebook.com/FelixJPalma?fref=ts



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