The just-released The Demi-Monde: Winter by Rod Rees comes complete with a frothing blurbalicious frenzy courtesy of Book Reporter: "A brilliant, high concept series that blends science fiction and thriller, Steampunk and dystopian vision. If Neil Gaiman, Neal Stephenson, James Rollins, and Clive Cussler participated in Suzanne Collins's The Hunger Games, the result might be something akin to [this novel's] dark and ingenious madness."
While that description may be over the top, The Demi-Monde: Winter does seem destined to be one of January's more original reads. The Demi-Monde< of the title is a sophisticated U.S. military computer simulation designed to provide a virtual training ground for urban combat. Thus, the world of the Demi-Monde is gripped by perpetual civil war. Stocked with infamous tyrants much as a trout pond is stocked with, erm, trout, the Demi-Monde features cyber-duplicates of Shaka Zulu, Ivan the Terrible, and even Aleister Crowley. (Poor Crowley"”he's so misunderstood.) The author has spent his life traveling the world, living for a time in Qatar, Tehran, and Moscow, and the novel reflects this experience. He's also created his own religions for the Demi-Monde, including Unfundementalism, HerEticalism, HimPerialism, RaTionalism, and Confusionism.
As might be expected, things go terribly wrong and the President's daughter winds up trapped in the Demi-Monde by two diabolical villains. A young jazz singer must then attempt a rescue before devastating consequences affect the real world.
There's more than a hint of camp and the theatrical to The Demi-Monde, to go along with the action and twists and turn of plot. It should satisfy a lot of readers looking for an exciting, thick read this month.