Nathan Brazil - Reviews "The Other Side Of Magik" for www.sfsite.com
The light had travelled one hundred and fifty thousand years to reach his eyes.
Four hundred billion stars poured their energies across the vast, empty gulf and reflected as points of light in his pupils, tiny and brilliant; yet through those eyes the same stars filled the heavens before him in a twin spiral of hard, blazing light and life that threw his shadow dark and long behind him.
Axel van Diemen had been to the outer stars of the Larger Magellanic Cloud before; a lifetime ago, when the dream was new and daunting.... when ghosts and memories drove him. But now, generations on, the past was safely distant and the dream much closer and real.
…to cross the gulf to the Milky Way. To go back. To find the original home of man. And he was to lead the way.
He was twenty-six years old and had been so for the last ninety-one years.
There is an alternative reality to the universe we know and understand. A very close and similar reality that is almost exactly the same, almost normal and familiar… except for some minor deviations.
History there took a slightly different path… the DNA spiral is left-handed… dragons are real and not quite what they seem…Sniggering Trees can spot a lie a mile off… werewolves can get the pension… electricity doesn’t work… and magik does.
Angland is a twenty-first century world of steam-buggies and airships, windmills and gas-lamps; a world where magik is the science that binds the fabric of society. A science that could offer a great future for its students…like sixteen year-old Garreth Aldredge.
Unfortunately, Garreth has failed to live up to expectations in his apprenticeship with the communications company… he can’t get the magik quite right… and his future is bleak. Worse…there is a high-ranking wizard, one Theolonia Crabbe, who has dark designs on Garreth. Theolonia carries within her mind the soul of her dead twin brother, Horatio, and Horatio needs a body to inhabit to fulfill his destiny. Horatio is a mandrake…a cold and fell necromancer of the worst aspect.
But it’s not exactly Garreth’s body the wizard wants, but his opposite number in the mythical parallel universe… our universe… that place where strange mechanical forces are at work and magik isn’t; because people from there are impervious to constructed magik. It won’t work on them. And the ancient and proscribed Book of Null tells how to swap them over…