The Demi-Monde by Rod Rees
A colleague recommended I read this and was kind enough to give me a proof copy before its publication on 6th January 2011 as the first in a four-part series. And what can I say? I loved it!!
This book is about so many things that it’s hard to sum it all up. But the jist of it is that the demi-monde is a computer simulation devised by the American government to create a the closest thing to hell in which US soldiers can train & prepare for the harsh realities of war. Only this world is ruled by history’s cruelest and most memorable characters. The most terrifying of all being Reinhard Heydrich – not only a Nazi but the Nazi who’s mind thought up the unthinkable – the holocaust.
The fate of all the Demi-Monde’s characters has been left in the hands of Ella Thomas – eighteen year old jazz singer from New York – who has been sent into the Demi-Monde by the government in a bid to save the President’s daughter who has somehow become trapped within the simulation.
It might sound like the craziest idea in the world for a novel – one which I was dubious about to begin with – but the characters are so well written, and a few of them surprisingly likeable that you can’t help but fall in love with the idea. I felt completely transported to this whole other world with Ella and loved every second of it!
Other historical characters that feature throughout are as follows:
Aleister Crowley – England’s most influential occultist and magician.
Archie Clement – famous outlaw leader & pal of Jesse James.
Empress Wu – the only Empress in the history of China
These are to name but a few! I was worried that when I started to read this novel that my understanding of it would mostly depend on my knowledge of these historical figures. I’m not a big history buff and honestly didn’t know much at all about any of the figures represented in this book but I didn’t feel like it interrupted my understanding in any way.
There are so many issues brought to light within this novel – racism, discrimination of Polish & Jewish people, occultism, religion and so on. It really has so many levels.
I would urge everyone who enjoys sci-fi or just general escapism to read this novel. Parts of it will make you laugh out loud and others will make you feel warm and fuzzy inside! I certainly cannot wait for the second installment of this series and I applaud Rod Rees for creating such fantastic characters who I know I will miss until that day comes!
For more information do check out The Demi-Monde website as it is a really fantastic site! www.thedemi-monde.com
My rating: 5 stars!