July 30, 2007

Ian Graham's Monument

I just finished this book, which was weird enough that I wanted to make a comment.

The Amazon reviews are perfect- there's one that gave it one star, that says the reviewer only read 150 pages; there's at least a couple that really liked it.

Ballas is the protagonist- hero, anti-hero, scum sucking worthless waste of oxygen, whatever. He's a thief, not the "Steal from the rich and give to the poor" kind of thief, or the "I have to steal because otherwise I'll die of hunger" kind of thief. He's the "pickpocket or mug anyone I can, eat, drink, go whoring, repeat" kind of thief. Then he kills, in self defence, a major drug dealer, who just happens to be one of the people supplying drugs to the Church. In retribution, and to alleviate any other dealers' fears, he is condemned to a painful death and a horribly painful post-death. He manages to escape, and is on the run from a Church that is increasingly frantic to eliminate him.

Ballas is a bad man. He leaves a trail of bodies behind him, steals from a range of good people [a young naive priest who helps him, an older priest who is trying in small ways to reform the Church]. He destroys irreplaceable antiquities in a fit of anger. He kills everyone who gets in his way, or who might make his life more difficult. He would be a perfect template for someone wanting to run a Chaotic Evil character in a Dungeons and Dragons campaign.

And yet, in the end, he's not quite so bad.

Part of the question is, given his situation, and what we know of his past, could a person act this way? I think the answer is yes.

Part of the question is, who is the most evil person in the book? The protagonist, the Church elder? Someone or something else? And I don't know.

What I do know, is that this is a book I want to read again, and given that it starts with a painfully despicable person, that says something.

Posted by Owlish at July 30, 2007 01:22 PM | TrackBack

You read the newest Harry Potter yet?

Posted by: JohnL at July 31, 2007 10:52 AM
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