Land of the Headless by Adam Roberts reviewed

jacket imageThis is the book that I have been waiting for Adam to write since I read Salt. It mixes his high concepts with his professional life as a Professor of Nineteenth century literature. Land of the Headless is a wonderfully concise yet rich novel.

Jon Cavaler is beheaded for rape and adultery, so becoming one of the Headless. He is falsely accused of raping another woman and finds himself in the army fighting for revenge before working his passage home and resolving his crises.

Roberts creates a narrator who is not shy of talking about his shortcomings and uses various narrative techniques to keep the reader close by him. Remove the trappings of sf and one could confidently be reading something from nineteenth century France or Britain. His world is one of religious bigotry and oppression and the failing humans therein. Roberts deals with his issues and teases out the human drivers, leaving the reader to make their own judgments.

Although he has garnered critical acclaim, Roberts does not seem to have received the popular applause that he ought to. I hope that this novel will change that.

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