Saturday, April 18, 2009

Redchapel - A Review

Red Chapel
by Mike Resnick
2003

Available as an eBook only.

$1.29 at Fictionwise.com in multiple formats.
$1.03 at Amazon.com for Kindle only.

Redchapel is an alternate history story that proposes that young Theodore Roosevelt, prior to the Spanish-American war but after his ranching days in the Dakotas, visits London in time to take on the murder mystery of all time-- Jack the Ripper. This novella has been nominated for several awards, including the prestigious Hugo Award.

Redchapel is descriptive, and well-paced. It is easy to visualize the foggy streets of Whitechapel as London bobbies, blowing their whistles, chase after Saucy Jack. The British characters were well-written and believable and the plot, though not overly complex, made sense. Even more important to me was that Theodore Roosevelt was done well. I've read numerous biographies and several of Roosevelt's own books, including Letters to his Children, and while many writers get a passable Roosevelt, few hit him as dead on as Resnick. Of course this is a young Roosevelt, not quite as complex as he might have been later in life. But still, nicely done.

I enjoyed this story, though it didn't last long. Be aware. At only 11,624 words, this is a single day's read-- a couple of days if you only read on the train. On the plus side, Resnick has at least one more Roosevelt alternate history.

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