Dave Hutchinson’s Europe at Midnight continues the timely inspection of Europe as the near future crumbles into our own.
Borders having crumbled, a unstable, flue-ravaged continent has new nations springing up. Jim, an intelligence agent, has to deal with the new nations but is unprepared for what is coming up next. Discovering a new nation is somewhat older than he thinks and has appeared and disappeared on maps, Jim finds himself lost in a larger spy game than he had originally planned for.
Hutchinson muses on the politics of maps and geography with a nod to early twentieth century pulp literature gleeful play with lands and parallel universes makes way for the politics of madness and conquest. The incompatible dreams of conquest, the dreams of a bygone empire that abound today, fuel the dystopia.
The mix and play of genres hints at a deeper sense of unease and lack of identity. Without going into extrapolation, the novel muses on the political and more street level worlds that acts as their own parallel universes.
With a consummate set of characters, flawed as they need be, are fully fleshed out and a set of hooks that cross this and the early Europe in Autumn. There is a Gibsonian sense of the street using not only technology but the world in its own way, where it is somewhat unevenly distributed.