SFX (USA) | 27 February 2008 | Simon Clark

Millennium’s selling point for this book is its author’s youth, and at twenty-four, O’Shaughnessy has written a book that many older authors would be proud of. Young Capac Raimi goes to the big city to join the family ‘firm’ of low-grade gangsters. On one level, the story could be a straight gangster novel seen through the eyes of the naive newcomer. However, O’Shaughnessy spices the story up with a dose of fantastical elements. The corrupt metropolis is presided over by the superhuman figure of the Cardinal, who relies on dreams and omens to run his vast criminal empire. Yet he’s getting on in years and a dream points to young Capac Raimi as a possible heir…The story unfolds in a leisurely fashion, as a series of long conversations punctuated by violent fist-fights and shoot-outs, and in less skilled hands Ayuamarca could have turned out dull as dishwater. But it works. The dialogue is brisk enough to be constantly engaging; the philosophical aspects are thought-provoking, and the sudden bursts of violence are thrilling. While the fantasy elements of the book (principally that it’s obviously set in a parallel world) are muted to the point of invisibility, the story holds an enticing aura of magic.

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