A WORTHY SUCCESSOR TO FITZGERALD – AND THEN SOME
When I was first asked to read Ivan Obolensky’s monumental (i.e. lengthy) Eye of the Moon, I was confronted with many an editor’s worst nightmare: a maiden voyage by a writer who wanted to get everything down before he died. Sometimes it works (Think: John Kennedy Toole’s classic A Confederacy of Dunces). More often, it is a disaster, and how much fun is it to tell someone who’s poured his heart into something that his literary child is stillborn?
The first few pages of Eye of the Moon confirmed my initial doubts. But then, much like Gary Jennings’ amazing Aztec, the novel started to gain traction and by the page 30, or so, I was well ensnared by Obolensky’s captivating spiderweb. Richly nuanced, complex, highly readable, this yarn combines mystery, implied horror, the patrician class seen through a glass darkly, romance, and a wholly acerbic view of the inherent goodness (or evil) of man (and woman). Eye of the Moon is anything but an author’s “first work.” It is clearly the sophisticated, mature effort of a seasoned veteran of the war that is life and the veneer of “civilized society” that is only the smallest step above savagery.
Character-driven, with twists and turns so subtle as to surprise the reader at every turn, this epic saga harks back to the more classic times of Trollope and Fitzgerald, when one did not have to rush a novel in graphic “bytes,” but simply sat by and absorbed the unfolding of “interesting” events. A stellar, highly auspicious opening to a successful career.