Beyond the Rest of Us is the third in Andrew Man’s Tego Arcana Dei series and is one of the strangest books I’ve read for a long time – and yet I enjoyed it without having the blindest clue as to what is going on to whom, why, where or when!
At a wild guess, Beyond the Rest of Us may be a cross between James Bond and The Paradox War (C. J. Moseley). Both excellent!
The story line is certainly beyond me and I wonder if this is because I jumped in at Book 3 instead of at the beginning. Indeed, the main character, James Pollack, doesn’t seem that phased when he’s abducted, awakes in an underground cell in Geneva and has it explained to him that he’s gone back in time to 1814.
There’s talk of jumping, sliding and dreaming between dimensions (I think facilitated by a medallion) – but these are all normal ideas for James who already seems to be familiar with these things. Actually, he seems to be more concerned about the oil lamps in the underground room where he’s being held, and then goes on to ask for a helper in the form of a young Italian prostitute. Needless to say I didn’t understand James’ character or his motivations or intentions.
And this is just Chapter 1! The Introduction beforehand didn’t make it any clearer for me, indeed, I was confused as to the scene which was being set – political? IT?
As I continued reading I settled comfortably into the writing style, and whereas I couldn’t keep up with what was happening on a novel-length scale, on a page-by-page basis I was intrigued by the density of well-researched scifi ideas which permeate Beyond the Rest of Us.
For example there’s an idea where a dimension or a universe is a holographic projection from another – now I’m sure I’ve read about this somewhere fairly recently, and how scientists have been testing this idea; and the experimental details are in part in Beyond the Rest of Us. This is what I love about science fiction – taking a real scientific idea or theory and running away with it in a novel!
The ease at which characters move between dimensions and universes makes for a busy but enjoyable read. There’s one part where a character needed to take a leak, so (for some reason) jumps into another dimension to do so. But she kind of got stuck there and needed help returning. It’s rather abstract, but a wonderfully crazy idea!
Apart from the story line, what I missed was depth to the characters. There are several of them, and each seem to have a few chapters where they take the lead role – but those chapters are so busy I quite easily lost track of who was who and who did what in which dimension.
Needless to say, when the novel (and series) concluded, it probably made less of an impact on me than it had the potential of doing so. Whether there was another chapter to follow or not, I don’t think would have made a difference.
I was sad that it ended though as I was really enjoying the read!
Rating * * * *
Despite having no clue as to what the story line is, the ideas within Beyond the Rest of Us are not only brilliant, but have a sound footing in scientific research. I’d hazard a guess that the political undertones (or maybe overtones?) are similarly well thought out.
Naturally, I think more clarity on the story line would have pushed this up to the full 5 stars!
Disclaimer: I received a free copy of “Beyond the Rest of Us” to read and provide an honest review. This is it!
| 5* Excellent! | 4* Good | 3* OK | 2* Not good | 1* Crud |