Tuesday 24 November 2015

God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlepig by Tad Williams

Bobby Dollar, aka The Angel Doloriel is not your idea of a typical angel. Think less flowing robes and shiny halo, more a tooled up wiseguy in a noir-ish setting you’d be more on the right track. Don’t be mistaken though, Dollar is certainly one of the good guys.
This novella, a Christmas story, was released last year and certainly feels very seasonal. If you haven’t read Williams’ Bobby Dollar series (The Dirty Streets of Heaven, Happy Hour in Hell, Sleeping Late on Judgement Day) there aren’t any real spoilers here ( but then, if you haven’t read the BD books you’re missing a treat)
So, to the story……..
It is Christmas Eve and Bobby Dollar is called to be advocate for the soul of Petar Vesic who has just died in hospital at the ripe old age of 98. That is what BD does – when a person passes over an advocate for Heaven and one for Hell vie for the soul of the deceased in a mini-court type scenario. Thing is Petar Vesic has not been a good person, he is acceptant of the fact he is going to Hell but he has a favour to ask……”save my Grandson”.
In short Bobby is given until sunrise on Christmas Day so it is a race against time for him and George the Werepig and, as you would expect, there are scrapes and surprises along the way
I’ll be the first to admit I’m a big fan of Tad Williams work, have been since discovering The Dragonbone Chair back in the late 1980’s. Usually his books are big sprawling epics but he does the smaller stuff well also (check out his books of short stories if you get chance). As a novella ‘Gentlepig’ certainly ranks as short but there is a heck of a lot of story in there. Normally this would be enough to guarantee a 4.5 or 5 star review but……………
Where this novella falls down slightly for me is that it really could have done with an extra proof read before publication. It’s nothing major, just little niggles that most people would overlook or ignore but being an editor and proof reader I cannot let these pass without mention.
So, in short, a thoroughly enjoyable Christmas short that could have done with an extra proof check

4/5 stars