No two persons ever read the same book. --Edmund Wilson

Friday, June 08, 2018

2018/29: Lost Things -- Melissa Scott and Jo Graham

Jerry tilted the tablet. The surface was blurred, worn, almost as though it had been exposed to wind or water. Or to something that rubbed constantly against it, trying slowly and without patience but with infinite time to wear away its bonds. [loc. 762]
America in the late 1920s: Alma Gilchrist runs the small aviation company founded by her late husband. Her fellow pilots, Lewis Segura and Mitch Sorley, are both veterans of the Great War, as is their friend Jerry Ballard, an archaeologist and academic who was gravely injured in the line of duty. None of them are quite ... ordinary. Lewis is prone to oracular dreaming: Alma, Mitch and Jerry are what's left of the Aedificatorii Templi, an occult lodge of magical practitioners. And some acquaintances from the old days have become involved with an ancient entity originating at Lake Nemi, where Caligula conceived a monstrous affront to the Temple of Diana ...

Lost Things, the first in the 'Order of the Air' series, is as much about the relationships between Alma, Lewis, Jerry and Mitch (and the late lamented Gil) as it's about the supernatural threat released by the excavations at Lake Nemi, or the arcane methodologies that the splintered lodge musters against that threat. The setting -- the early air transport industry of the USA, back when airships were still the luxurious way to cross the Atlantic and planes were unable to fly high enough to cross mountain ranges -- is fascinating and well-researched. And above all, this is a novel about team; about families of choice, found families, and the ways in which the protagonists, lost and drifting in different ways, find or make a place where they can be true to themselves.

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