Book review: The Iron Labyrinth by Merrilee Beckman

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Pub date September 11, 2020

ISBN 978-1532089008

Price $18.84 (USD) Paperback, $34.94 Hardcover, $4.76 Kindle edition

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Set in 1947 in England, Beckman’s exceptionally imaginative, compelling science fiction novel takes her protagonist into a devastatingly grim subterranean world where servitude is the only way to stay alive. Kidnapped and taken to an underground labyrinth made of iron, the very determined Brian Renwick, a literary editor, finds himself struggling to bow down to his mysterious, ruthless captor, who calls himself Uncle. The never-ending cycle of grueling labor and physical training weighs heavy on Brian’s mind, but escaping the desolation and brutality of Uncle’s Iron Kingdom is not as easy as it seems. The plot of this solid novel is intricate, with strikingly imaginative details. Both slaves and bodyguards struggle with difficult and often sinister decisions, and the fully fleshed out characters and page-turning storytelling compliment the original premise. Beckman keeps the story flowing at a vigorous pace that’s boosted through the tense showdown between Brian and Uncle. The novel may read like a cross between SF and speculative fiction, but it will hold readers’ interest tenaciously. The ending leaves many unresolved questions, making readers anxious for their next encounter with Uncle and Brian. The novel is not for everyone, but lovers of literary fiction and finely crafted science fiction fans will find it to be a knockout.

***

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