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Fearful Symmetries: The Return of Nohar Rajasthan
S. Andrew Swann
DAW Books, 280 pages

Luis Royo
Fearful Symmetries: The Return of Nohar Rajasthan
S. Andrew Swann
S. Andrew Swann is a full-time novelist who has been writing science fiction, horror, and suspense since he left the mechanical engineering program at Cleveland State University. He lives in the Cleveland area where he has stayed for the last 25 years. His other novels include Forests of the Night, God's Dice, Raven and The Flesh, the Blood, and the Fire. (The last 2 are published under his given name, S.A. Swiniarski.)

S. Andrew Swann Website
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Past Feature Reviews
A review by Jeri Wright

Fearful Symmetries is an enjoyable mix of a hard-boiled detective novel with near-future science fiction. Ex-P.I. Nohar Rajasthan is on a personal quest; there is someone he has to find. Opposing him are powerful people determined to protect a dangerous conspiracy. But Nohar is an obstacle to be dealt with.

Nohar Rajasthan is a moreau, one of the many descendants of animals engineered in the labs to fight human wars who now live as second-class citizens in human society. Nohar is from tiger stock, only one generation from the labs, and at 40 he is old for one of his kind. He was once rather well known -- the only moreau private detective in Los Angeles. But he has been retired for a long time now, and even when he was on the job, he had a rule against taking cases involving humans. So when a pink (human) lawyer named Charles Royd turns up with the case of a missing crossbreed, Nohar rather quickly shows him the door and puts the matter out of his mind.

Until he is attacked in the middle of the night by a team of very professional-seeming men intent upon killing him. Barely escaping with his life gives Nohar a new outlook on the situation; it is definitely time to find out what is going on. When he learns the details of the case he had refused to hear from Royd, he realizes that the missing moreau, a feline named Manuel, is connected with Nohar's own past. Finding him becomes the most important job of Nohar's life.

This works very well as a hard-boiled detective story. The "noir" feel is there, the dark vision of a world where injustice and intolerance reign, but do not go unchallenged. We have the loner with a mysterious past, and the fight for justice against impossible odds. Nohar's personal quest is one with high stakes for his society as well, since Manuel has something that a lot of dangerous people are willing to stop at nothing to recover.

The science fiction side of it, the look at the future with the addition of the moreaus, is also intriguing. While the adventure/detective story takes the lead, the backdrop and details about this future world kept me interested. Though this is the fourth novel in the series and the second with this character as the lead, it can easily be read independently of the others. I just happen to be a "can't read just one" type reader myself... so I will hope there are even more adventures to come.

Copyright © 1999 Jeri Wright

Jeri is a voracious reader who believes that paradise could well be a quiet afternoon, unlimited chocolate, and a novel to lose herself in. She reads and reviews all types of fiction, and enjoys sharing her life long passion for books with like-minded readers.

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