Author: Pat Kelleher
Publisher: Abaddon Books
Price: £7.99 (Paperback)
Page count: 362pp
Reviewer: Theresa Derwin
Meticulously researched and historically accurate, The Ironclad Prophecy is the second No Man’s World novel set during the Great War. In 1917 The Pennine Fusiliers are dumped with a portion of theSomme battlefield onto an unknown planet surrounded by a myriad of hostile insect like aliens and poisonous plants.
At the beginning of this novel, Lt Everson, the man left in charge of the missing Pennines, sends Only Atkins and a team out to look for the Ironclad tank and its crew led by Lt Mathers, missing somewhere on the alien planet. In the meantime, those left on the remains of the ‘Somme’ fight against the local population. And there is plenty of action to be found!
Using local Napoo as a native guide, Kelleher avoids info dumping allowing the reader insight into the plant & animal life of the planet in a very effective manner. The soldier’s environment and points of view all feel incredibly real. There is also a rather useful glossary at the end of the book to clarify WWI phrases or words.
With the Penninesmissing and the search for the Ironclad of the title, Kelleher taps into a whole host of religious and archaeological mythology including the Croatoan legends. In fact, the writing felt so authentic that I found myself google-ing to see if a colony of British soldiers actually did disappear during WWI. Kelleher also manages to explain the previous events of Black Hand Gang interweaving it through fireside tales shared by the Tommies.
At its’ heart, this novel is pure pulp, however, there is quality here. Some of the parts are actually quite gruesome, the war impact and shell-shock is handled sensitively and the horror is almost Cthulu-esque in nature. Well worth a look.
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