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Review: The Trials of Solomon Parker by Eric Scott Fischl

February 19, 2020

About the Book:

1916, Butte, Montana: City of the Copper Kings. Solomon Parker is old, broken and in debt to very bad people. He’s always managed to stay one step ahead of his last bad decision, but more than anything, he wishes life had turned out differently. Little does he know that for him and his young protégé, Billy Morgan, that wish is about to come true. The Above Ones, the gods of the People, are bored. Their servant, Marked Face is coming, and he’s bringing his dice…

My thoughts:

WOW.

This book was a total surprise to me. The blurb doesn’t quite give this story justice. It is deeper, darker, and more twisty than I expected and I loved every second of it. From the first mad run through the mine (and oh my gosh this stayed with me – best action scene I have read in a while) to the myths and magic that keep Sol and Billy returning to their past in the foolish hope they can rewrite history, this story is gripping and tragic and sad and hopeless and hopeful and full of emotional heartache. It’s the best of science fiction in a historic setting.

What would YOU do if you could change the past… and would you do it? What if it made things worse?

There is so much in this story. The native mythology lends a depth to the heartache that is just painful to read. The time period is fully engrossing, dark, dingy and death seems to wait through every doorway. The mine scenes are beautifully written, as are the gangster scenes and the hospital scenes. This is a book of tragedy and leaves you thinking long after you finish reading.

And one wonders if the magic really happened to Sol and Billy? Is it madness, only in their heads, made strangely real, or did they really go back into their own timelines? Does the magic punish Sol and Billy for the hurts caused by ancestors long long past – yet fully alive in the present – even as they fight to make things better in the future? It’s a bitter truth to learn. Nothing is as it seems and choices do make a difference, don’t they? That is the beauty of this story.

Its also a time travel story. One of the best I’ve read. The story resets are easy to follow and I found the timeline did not trip me up or become confusing. It is several stories but they same one, with the one message throughout. Does a choice, a wish, a chance to fix what has broken in ones life, really make a difference? I really enjoyed this book. It was well written and deeply thought provoking.

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