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Passion Play
     

Passion Play

4.0 1
by Sean Stewart
 

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"Dark and nastily believable ... Sean Stewart [is] a talent to watch." — William Gibson. This fast-paced adventure traces an investigation of a TV evangelist's murder by an empathic bounty hunter. Set in America of the not-too-distant-future, a land ruled by Christian fundamentalists, this cyberpunk novel offers thought-provoking reflections on the concept

Overview


"Dark and nastily believable ... Sean Stewart [is] a talent to watch." — William Gibson. This fast-paced adventure traces an investigation of a TV evangelist's murder by an empathic bounty hunter. Set in America of the not-too-distant-future, a land ruled by Christian fundamentalists, this cyberpunk novel offers thought-provoking reflections on the concept of moral choice.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This tale of a futuristic sleuth who pursues criminals and her own inner demons succeeds both as science fiction and as a mystery."
- Publishers Weekly -

"Set in a grimly puritanical America of the not-so-distant future, this first novel explores the intimate relationship between the hunter and the hunted. Told in compellingly simple language, this powerful debut belongs in most libraries."
- Library Journal -

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This tale of a futuristic sleuth who pursues criminals and her own inner demons succeeds both as science fiction and as a mystery. Although pretentious prose studs the first few pages (e.g., ``Scattered across the asphalt like murderer's footprints, puddles of water turn bloody with sunset''), it vanishes when Stewart settles in to show us freelance detective Diane Fletcher using her ability as a ``shaper'' (someone who can read and experience the emotions of others) to help policeman Rolly French investigate the death of Jonathan Mask. An actor, Mask was electrocuted while filming a television show. Since he was the darling of the fundamentalist Christian, anti-technology, anti-intellectual ``Reds'' who run Redemption Era America, French hopes that the actor's death was accidental; but Fletcher's interview of cast and crew reveals strange patterns under ``the murk of events.'' Even as Fletcher doggedly explores the relationships between Mask and his coworkers, she becomes increasingly disturbed about the morality of her own life and work. This memorable character contributes significantly to Stewart's fast-paced yet thoughtful debut. (Dec.)
Library Journal
When the country's leading actor and religious icon dies under suspicious circumstances, freelance hunter Diane Fletcher is commandeered by the Redemptionist government to track down the murderer--despite her heretical beliefs. Set in a grimly puritanical America of the not-so-distant future, this first novel explores the intimate relationship between the hunter and the hunted. Told in compellingly simple language, this powerful debut belongs in most libraries.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780888783141
Publisher:
Fitzhenry & Whiteside, Limited
Publication date:
11/27/2002
Pages:
231
Product dimensions:
4.25(w) x 7.00(h) x 0.50(d)

Related Subjects

Meet the Author


Canadian-American science fiction and fantasy author Sean Stewart has written several novels and is Creative Director at Microsoft's Xbox Studios.

Customer Reviews

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Passion Play 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
PhoenixFalls More than 1 year ago
To start, a passion play is "a dramatic presentation depicting the Passion of Jesus Christ: his trial, suffering, and death." The title is thus a significant hint as to what sort of story this is; judging from the few reviews I've spotted online, not enough people got this going in. That out of the way, this is an impressive first novel. Stewart's pacing is steady, his characters are well-drawn (if a bit stereotypical), and his prose is assured. The novel works equally well as science fiction, with its dystopic future and telepathic narrator, and as a mystery, with its cast of distinct suspects and very memorable dead man. It's lean and taut and packs a punch. I actually wished it were a little less lean -- while I was content to simply wonder about how the Redemption Presidency came about, and why the police hired private contractors to do their detective work, and how they managed to get around that pesky first amendment right to freedom of religion, I really felt the novel needed a bit more of an infodump about the narrator's psychic abilities. They were central to the plot (whereas all the governmental stuff was mere backdrop) and I couldn't figure out a couple of key points (mostly whether or not anyone knew she was a shaper, and what the difference was between shapers and empaths) that would have changed how I read several scenes. Despite that dissatisfaction, this is a powerful novel. Stewart has said "I wanted to write a book about moral choice. . . [to] create a society in which everyone cared passionately about moral choice." At the end I think I would quibble over whether there was a choice at all, but I didn't really care, because Stewart succeeded so well in capturing the tone of those sorts of moments, the agony of a crisis of faith and the relief in re-committing oneself, even in a pyrrhic fashion. Despite the SF world-building and mystery plot, this is an intimate novel, one that rises and falls with how well the reader responds to Diane's voice. Read the first page; if it works for you, you will very likely love this novel. I did.