After polishing off my eagerly anticipated copy of Robert Reed’s Down the Bright Way a few days ago I’ve used my long bus trip to my temporary posting to zip through Russo’s bloody good Unto Leviathan. A proof I had put to one side intending to get around to it (a problem Ariel can identify with methinks) it was the first thing to hand after the excellent Reed novel (proper review soon). Hmmm, don’t know much about it or the author – should I begin this or one of the other large number of new books pending or one of the older ones I never got to read on my backlist?

What’s this? A letter inside the book, not from a PR person as is usual with adfvance copies but a letter by Tim Holman who runs Orbit, TimeWarner’s excellent SF stable and the publisher of no less than Iain M Banks and Ken MacLeod, as well as the aforemtioned Mister Reed. Well, I know Tim always picks the good stuff, so I start reading Unto Leviathan and damn it is absolutely brilliant! At it’s core it is a classic Old Dark House and comes across as an SF-Horror novel by way of Banks or any of the earlier authors I mentioned – basically anyone who likes them will enjoy this. Very spooky and atmospheric, Russo cleverly avoids any out and out gore or action and settles for Poe-like sense of claustrophobia and crawling dread, wisely leaving much to the imagiantion which ups the creepiness level no end. Wonderful to just come across such a book pretty much by surprise really. Now back to Endless Nights and more Gaiman pleasure (now it’s the return of the Ariel-James Lovegrove-me super review tag-team for that one, so keep ’em peeled). Really must reclaim my proof of Quicksilver from Alex at some point and actually read it before Matthew disowns me.

And a word to Matthew – dragons should always have a name beginning with a D, just as gargoyles must have a name beginning with G. It is a very old tradition observed the world over which I’ve just made up.