Monday, October 27, 2014

The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Claire North

Harry August was born in 1919. His mother was a household maid who was raped by the affluent master of the household where she worked. Harry's mother died in childbirth and while he was not acknowledged as his father's son his aunt ensured that Harry was raised within the household by the groundskeeper and his wife. Aside from his rather traumatic beginning Harry lived a rather ordinary life and the died....only to be born again in 1919 and have his memories from his previous life slowly come back to him and so the process begins again. Throughout his lives Harry meets others like him who form the Cronus Club who abide by a code of non-interference in linear affairs, At the end of one of his lives receives a message that the world is ending or more correctly ending sooner than it should. Knowing that one of his own kind can only be responsible Harry sets out to find the culprit.

The concept is an original and well conceived one. The story takes place as something of a narrative from Harry's perspective and as one might except Harry jumps around from life to life as events which have shaped him effect 'the present' circumstance. This is an appropriate way of doing things as it shows a very real similarity to a real world biography and is an excellent way to explore the central character to an impressive degree.

With such an approach there was a very real risk that the support characters would be left underdeveloped which I am happy to say is far from the case.

Overall an original concept and well developed lead ccharactermake for a compelling read. 8.5/10.