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The Map of Moments
Christopher Golden and Tim Lebbon
Bantam Spectra, 354 pages

Christopher Golden
Christopher Golden was born and raised in Massachusetts, where he still lives with his family. His original novels have been published in fourteen languages in countries around the world. He has written books for teens and young adults, including the thriller series Body of Evidence, honored by the New York Public Library and chosen as one of YALSA's Best Books for Young Readers. With Thomas E. Sniegoski, he is the co-author of the dark fantasy series The Menagerie as well as the young readers fantasy series OutCast and the comic book miniseries Talent, both of which were recently acquired by Universal Pictures. Working with actress/writer/director Amber Benson, he co-created and co-wrote Ghosts of Albion, an original animated supernatural drama for BBC online, from which they created the book series of the same name.

Christopher Golden Website
ISFDB Bibliography
SF Site Review: British Invasion
SF Site Review: Mind the Gap

Tim Lebbon
Tim Lebbon lives in South Wales with his wife and two children. His books include Face, The Nature of Balance, Changing of Faces, Exorcising Angels (with Simon Clark), Dead Man's Hand, Pieces of Hate, Fears Unnamed, White and Other Tales of Ruin, Desolation, and Berserk. Future publications include Hellboy: Unnatural Selection from Simon & Schuster, plus books from Cemetery Dance, Night Shade Books, and Necessary Evil Press, among others. He has won two British Fantasy Awards, a Bram Stoker Award, and a Tombstone Award and has been a finalist for International Horror Guild and World Fantasy Awards. Several of his novels and novellas are currently under option in the United States and Great Britain.

Tim Lebbon Website
ISFDB Bibliography
SF Site Review: Dawn
SF Site Review: Dusk
SF Site Review: Berserk
SF Site Review: Fears Unnamed
SF Site Review: As The Sun Goes Down
SF Site Review: Naming of Parts
SF Site Review: Faith In The Flesh

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Michael M Jones

The Map of Moments Ten weeks after Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans, Max Corbett, a history professor who left the city never to return, is drawn back nonetheless, for the funeral of the girl he once loved. It doesn't take him long at all to realize that while he might have loved Gabrielle Doucette, he hadn't truly known her. A chance encounter with a mysterious old man following the sparsely-attended funeral is Max's first step along what will prove to be the strangest, deadliest journey of his life. He's given the so-called Map of Moments, a piece of magic which transports him back in time to witness a series of inexplicable, significant events throughout New Orleans' history. Individually, the moments are terrifying and filled with dark magics; together, they describe the long and dark history of the Tordu, a secret society whose very existence is tied into the city's soul.

The closer Max gets to the center of the mystery, the more dangerous it becomes. For the Tordu guard their secrets jealously, and there's far more going on than Max ever expected. And he still doesn't understand how Gabrielle was involved, or what he'll comprehend when his journey is finished. All he knows is that he'll never be the same again, nor will New Orleans.

The second in Christopher Golden and Tim Lebbon's Hidden Cities series, The Map of Moments draws from the aftermath of a tragic moment in recent history, telling a dark, gripping story set in a shattered but unbeaten New Orleans. Max's journey through the hurricane-ravaged streets of the present and the hidden mysticism of the past provides a fascinating look at a city that's not all jazz and beads. Part ghost story, part thriller, it doesn't pull any punches along the way, putting the hero through a physical, mental and spiritual ordeal even as it paints an honest, stark picture of a city just starting to recover from a near-fatal blow. The Map of Moments isn't about New Orleans as it's traditionally depicted; there's no Mardi Gras excess, no jazz on the street corners, no partying in the French Quarter. This is about the undying, unbroken spirit of the city, that stubborn, iron core remaining after everything else has been stripped away. It's about survivors, those who've been transformed by what they've done to stay safe and alive, and those who understand pain and loss. It's a ghost story, where memories of the city as it was haunt the city as it is, with one poor accidental hero caught right in the middle. It's a love story, the kind that always ends with a broken heart.

Christopher Golden and Tim Lebbon really deliver a hell of a harrowing tale here. It's dark and intense, full of pain and anguish, and the New Orleans that acts as the backdrop here is one a lot of people undoubtedly aren't familiar with, and yet, this New Orleans is just as real and vital as the image presented to the tourists. They do an excellent job of making the city itself the true protagonist, even as they infuse the setting with tragic ghost stories and other shadowy aspects of a hidden, magical past. There's a lot to think about here; it's not your average urban fantasy by any means. The ending is somewhat abrupt, and it feels as though a few more pages could have been used to soften the conclusion a little. Nevertheless, it's a great read, illuminating a time and place in American history that should not be ignored or forgotten. As with the previous book in the series, Mind the Gap, I greatly enjoyed this and I'll be looking forward to future installments, especially if Golden and Lebbon continue to make the setting the true star of each book. I know I've got a wish list of places for them to utilize. This is definitely worth checking out if you like dark urban fantasy.

Copyright © 2009 Michael M Jones

Michael M Jones enjoys an addiction to books, for which he's glad there is no cure. He lives with his very patient wife (who doesn't complain about books taking over the house... much), eight cats, and a large plaster penguin that once tasted blood and enjoyed it. A prophecy states that when Michael finishes reading everything on his list, he'll finally die. He aims to be immortal.

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