Sunday, July 31, 2016

Delivering Virtue by Brian Kindall

The year is 1854 and as usual, Didier Rain is broke and desperate for work.  He doesn't understand how such a cultured man could have such bad luck or why he can't write the perfect poem that will make his fame and fortune.  No matter, something always turns up and that holds true in this case.  Rain is hired by a religious group to deliver a baby who is the chosen bride of a religious sect called the Church Of Restructured Truth.  Rain is not sure about his ability to travel hundreds of miles with a baby, but the money is good so he's game.

The road ahead is perilous, going through forests, mountains, deserts and populated with all kinds of wild animals.  There are also unfriendly Indians, hard men who live on stealing from travelers and many other dangers.  But Rain and Virtue press on.

This is an interesting tale that combines history, magic realism, violence, satire and just plain enjoyment for the reader.  Rain is one of the worst villains yet has a heart of gold.  He tries to do the right thing and it's hardly his fault if it all goes badly, is it?  Readers must be able to suspend disbelief in time as the baby becomes a woman by the end of the trip which covers only a few months, but their suspension of belief is rewarded with a fascinating, ribald tale that entertains and illustrates. It received the Editor's Choice award from the Historical Novel Society.   This book is recommended for readers of historical fiction and those interested in an entertaining tale.

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