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The Crooked Letter: Books of the Cataclysm One by Sean Williams
Review by Gayle Surrette
Pyr Hardcover  ISBN/ITEM#: 1591024382
Date: 04 April, 2006 List Price $25.00 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /

Hadrian wakes in a hospital but there are problems with getting food, electricity, and nursing care. Detective Lascowicz, investigating Seth's death, can't offer much information except that the killer's name is Locyta. Hadrian had been beaten and left in an alley next to his twins body. At first Hadrian is in shock but later he begins to pay more attention to his surroundings and notices that the hospital sounds empty and his door is locked from the outside. Once Hadrian escapes his room, Bechard the orderly, and Loscowicz start to hunt him. At this point the story takes off like a rocket. There's barely a break to catch your breath as we switch back and forth from Hadrian problems in the first realm (our world) to Seth's journey in the second realm.

It seems that if you kill one of a set of mirror twins then the connection between the two of them pulls the two realms together. Once you accept that, the rest of the book falls into place. There's bits and pieces of many religions, cultures, and mythologies mixed together so that there's always that half remembered connection in your subconscious that raises the hairs on the back of your neck -- or maybe that only happens with me because I grew up reading every mythology related book I could get my hands on.

In the first realm, Hadrian doesn't know who to trust or what is happening. For much of the book, he refuses to believe the evidence of his own eyes. When offered help he doesn't question but follows blindly believing that he'll be taken care of and eventually things will make sense. Hadrian has to find the strength to think and act on his own because Seth is gone and not there to boss him about anymore.

Meanwhile Seth is much more accepting of his part in the Cataclysm and the need to ameliorate the problem. Seth knows he's dead -- he watched the knife plunge into his heart and felt himself die. Death doesn't stop the connection between Seth and Hadrian and Seth continual worries about what's happening to Ellis and Hadrian.

The characters are extremely well developed. The realms we find ourselves in are completely different but cohesive and believable within the context of the book. This is a convoluted story with lots depth and flavor. I look forward to the next two volumes.

Highly recommended.

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