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The White Tyger
Paul Park
Tor, 304 pages

The White Tyger
Paul Park
Paul Park has written several novels, including Celestis and The Gospel of Corax. His short fiction has appeared in numerous magazines and several anthologies. He lives in Western Massachusetts with his wife, Deborah, and their daughter, Miranda.

ISFDB Bibliography
SF Site Review: The Tourmaline
SF Site Review: A Princess of Roumania
SF Site Review: If Lions Could Speak and Other Stories

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Rich Horton

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This is the third in what I believe is planned to be a four-book series. As such it is perhaps not surprising that there is a certain feeling of "let's get on with things" about the book -- not that nothing happens here (indeed quite a lot happens), but one does start to look for a conclusion. The series remains intriguing, and this book is very enjoyable, but for whatever reason not quite as satisfying as the previous two volumes.

The heroine is Miranda Popescu, a Princess of Roumania. In previous volumes, she was seen growing up a teenager in the contemporary USA, and then transported to another world, her home world -- it seems "our" world was only a construct of her aunt, a powerful sorcerer, to keep her safe. Ambiguously older, she returns to Roumania and joins the resistance movement, which opposes both the Germans who have invaded and installed a puppet government, and the leader of that government, the Baroness Nicola Ceausescu. The Baroness is a madwoman, at the same time a tool of the Germans and hoping to expel them and install herself as the legitimized head of a free Roumania. She has already murdered Miranda's aunt and in the course of the novel murders (or arranges to murder) two more people: her son and another boy she had regarded (in her mad way) as a surrogate son. Indeed she is the most intriguing character in the novel -- as so often happens, a villain gets all the best lines. And for all her villainy -- which is quite real -- she is almost sympathetic -- at least pathetic in the true sense of the word.

Besides Miranda and the Baroness the novel follows Miranda's two loyal companions from her time in the USA: Pieter de Graz or Peter Gross, a one-armed boy who becomes a much older soldier in Roumania; and Andromeda Bailey or Sasha Prochenko, Miranda's best girlfriend in the USA who, in the other world, becomes both a dog and a dashing young man -- and, here in this novel, takes on characteristics of all three -- girl, dog, man -- simultaneously, which rather complicates his/her affair with a beautiful young woman. Pieter, along with Miranda, is captured by the Baroness, while Prochenko attempts to help them from the outside. Finally, another major character is the tortured policeman Radu Lukacz, hopelessly in love with the Baroness while she betrays him again and again, unable to do good while thinking all along he is an instrument of justice.

In this book the Baroness is mostly ascendant -- holding Miranda and de Graz prisoner, successfully maneuvering against the Germans, gaining the love of her people by false means. But by the end things change drastically. Alas we still don't quite have a grip on Miranda -- what sort of person is she really? what does she really wish to do with her potential power? or for Roumania? and how real is this world after all? Certainly all the pieces are in place for a concluding volume that, if successful, will place this entire series among the best fantasy series of the new century.

Copyright © 2007 Rich Horton

Rich Horton is an eclectic reader in and out of the SF and fantasy genres. He's been reading SF since before the Golden Age (that is, since before he was 13). Born in Naperville, IL, he lives and works (as a Software Engineer for the proverbial Major Aerospace Company) in St. Louis area and is a regular contributor to Tangent. Stop by his website at http://www.sff.net/people/richard.horton.


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