Review of THE MAP OF MOMENTS by Christopher Golden and Tim Lebbon
A NOVEL OF THE HIDDEN CITIES
Spectra, January 2009
History professor Max Corbett wasn't proud of himself for his affair with nineteen year-old student Gabrielle. And she hurt him so horribly he fled New Orleans, promising himself he'd never return. But when her cousin calls him, tells him Gabrielle was one of the many lost in the horror of Hurricane Katrina, he pulls himself together to go to her funeral.
Max only plans on spending a few days in New Orleans--enough to go to the funeral and then visit a few of his friends in the History Department at Tulane University. But he can't resist the invitation of a strange man who seems to know more about Gabrielle than Max does. The man gets him drunk, hands him a strange concoction and a tourist map of New Orleans, and tells him he's got to gather magic from important moments in the city's past...magic that may give him the power to change that past. Max doesn't believe in magic--not at first, at any rate. But as he lives through each moment, he begins to sense that there are secret powers at work, powers that control the city, that will do anything required to keep the city in their iron grip.
Authors Christopher Golden (see more fantasy by Golden) and Tim Lebbon create a horribly believable post-Katrina New Orleans. As Max wanders through the streets of that mutilated cities, he confronts vandals, people trying to re-create that which was lost, and so many whose lives have been destroyed. Gradually, he also learns of two powers in the city...one that rules through cruelty, sometimes doing good (as in defeating a horrible plague of Yellow Fever), but only for thier own purposes. The other, antithetical to the first, is a demon who stalks the borders of New Orleans, constantly attacking the wards that hold it off, seeking only to destroy the secretive magical mob that holds the city at bay.
THE MAP OF MOMENTS is powerful stuff although occasionally marred by repetition (yes, we get it that New Orleans may never recover from the hurricane). Katrina's dark shadow hangs over both Golden/Lebbon's fictional New Orleans and our own, and the horrific images on MOMENTS's pages ring especially true because they are reflected in the destruction our own New Orleans suffered. New Orleans is actually the dominant character in this story, horrible, injured, and yet still strong.
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