Lively, fast-paced tale

WARP: THE RELUCTANT ASSASSIN<br> <b>Eoin Colfer>/b><br><i> Puffin</i>
WARP: THE RELUCTANT ASSASSIN<br> <b>Eoin Colfer>/b><br><i> Puffin</i>
Eoin Colfer's novel Warp, is not as compelling as the books in his Artemis Fowl series. But that out of the way, it is a lively tale, careering through time and place at breakneck speed, with a cast of characters not easily forgotten.

It is difficult not to compare one with the other.

The hero of Warp, Chevron Savano, is, like Fowl, a misfit from a troubled background and both tales take place in two worlds. But remarkable though junior FBI agent Savano's skills are, they do not compare to the genius of Fowl.

And the time-travelled settings of Warp, though described in olfactive detail, suffer by comparison with the Lower Elements imagined for the Fowl series.

The villain of Warp, Albert Garrick, is a soul as twisted as Fowl's nemesis Opal Koboi, and more inclined to do his own dirty work.

Indeed, Garrick's disregard for the wellbeing of others means Warp is not a novel for the squeamish. Master assassin Garrick is immediately into his work as the story opens and hardly pauses thereafter.

The story revolves around Garrick and his protege Riley, who inhabit a grimy Victorian London, and their interactions with the present day, represented principally by Savano.

As is usually the way, when chinks appear in the barriers that keep the ages apart, things go array. If you haven't read the Artemis Fowl series, that is still the best place to start.

Fans of Colfer who have exhausted that well will enjoy the opportunity Warp provides to become lost in another of his adventures.

Warp brings the action to a satisfactory close, but leaves enough unresolved to guarantee more to come.

Tom McKinlay is ODT features editor.


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