Doc Sidhe by Aaron Allston
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
My old review for this didn't thrill me so here's the one I wrote as Dangerous Dan for BlackPigeonPress.com.
It's no secret that the pulps get Dangerous Dan as hot and bothered as a hillbilly with a jug of moonshine and two eager cousins, and a twist on an old favorite puts a little extra spring in his step. Doc Sidhe is no exception.
Doc Sidhe (pronounced She, the Irish word for Faerie) has the classic elements of Doc Savage but with twists and the twists are all things Dangerous Dan likes in his fiction.
Slacker/screw-up as one of the protagonists? Check.
Parallel worlds? Check.
Writing that's descriptive without being overly wordy? Check.
Fantasy story that isn't a Tolkien rehash? Check.
Couple this with tons of action and a character modelled after Doc Savage but stripped of the things that annoy me about the original Doc Savage tales and we have a winner on our hands.
The plot is pretty straightforward. Harris Greene, a down on his luck kick boxer and the aforementioned slacker, sees some guys trying to abduct his recently ex girlfriend and intervenes, following them into an alternate world resembling 1930's Earth, but with magic instead of technology. Dwarves, elves, and assorted Fae abound. Doc Sidhe, leader of the Sidhe Foundation, is a powerful wizard and warrior, and leads a crew resembling Doc Savage's crew. It turns out Harris's girlfriend's kidnapping is part of a plot cooked up by Doc's arch-nemesis who wants to rule both worlds. Excited yet?
The author of Doc Sidhe is Aaron Allston, a trusted name in gaming circles. Allston has written assorted supplements for various RPGs, as well as novels set in the Star Wars universe. How does his writing stack up to Kenneth Robeson's, you ask? It's better. There, I said it. Allston's writing surprised the hell out of Dangerous Dan. It's descriptive without being overly wordy and suits the action perfectly. It's not as predictable as you'd think, either. Some of Doc's crew die, unlike Doc Savage's crew. The ending is satisfying and there's also a sequel, Sidhe Devil, and rumors of a second sequel abound.
Dangerous Dan gave Doc Sidhe an easy 4.25 out of five. If you don't believe Dangerous Dan, as if he'd ever lie to you, go check out the publisher's website, where you can read the entire novel FOR FREE! Don't say Dangerous Dan never did you any favors.
Doc Sidhe at Baen
That's it for Dangerous Dan. Until next time, keep your gun oiled and your lies simple enough that you can remember them later.
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