In a fractured Europe, new nations are springing up everywhere, some literally overnight.
For an intelligence officer like Jim it’s a nightmare. Every week or so a friendly power spawns a new and unknown national entity which may or may not be friendly to England’s interests. It’s hard to keep on top of it all.
But things are about to get worse for Jim. A stabbing on a London bus pitches him into a world where his intelligence service is preparing for war with another universe, and a man has appeared who may hold the key to unlocking Europe’s most jealously guarded secret…
I have to start out by saying I didn’t really want to read Europe At Midnight. The only reason I bought it is because it was nominated for the Arthur C Clarke award this year and I decided to review the whole shortlist. I didn’t want to read this because that I wasn’t a fan of Europe In Autumn, but I think it’s partly my own fault that I didn’t like it. I went into that book expecting a sci-fi story (I mean you would expect that if a book has been nominated for a sci-fi award right?) and what I actually found was a very well written spy novel with a little bit of science-fiction bolted on at the end. And I think that shock at not getting what I expected was a large part of the reason I didn’t like that book, to the point where I want to go read it again knowing it’s really more of a spy novel.
Anyway that’s enough about the first book. Europe At Midnight is the sequel to Europe In Autumn and is partially set in one of the pocket universes you are introduced to at the end of the first book. This particular universe is essentially a large university campus and our main character is a type of detective who lives there. Look I’m going to be totally honest. I read this and I still don’t fully understand the whole plot, you’re better off reading the blurb than reading my attempt at summarising it.
I suppose that may also give you an idea of how I feel about this book (you may also like to know I finished it and immediately put it on my to-be-donated pile). Basically this book was just okay. I really liked the spy aspect of it but the rest was kind of boring. The characters were fine, you have two main characters and because of the way it was written I found it really difficult telling who’s point of view the story was being told from. The beginning wasn’t so bad for this because the characters were in two separate places but by the end I had no idea what character was talking.
The ending was very meh. It didn’t have any real conclusion, it sort of just stopped. In fact I vaguely remember having this same problem with Europe In Autumn. The only good thing I can tell you about this book is you don’t need to read the first to understand what is going on in this one (and I can say that with complete certainty because I remember very little of what happened in the first book). Basically it was just okay. But if you want a good spy novel go read something by John Le Carre instead.