Abner Marsh is not a lucky man. His steamboat company has almost gone bankrupt after his brand new boats were crushed in ice flow. He only has the “Eli Reynolds” left but that is an old boat and not very fast. Until he meets the mysterious Joshua York who wants to give Abner money to build the fastest steamboat on the river but only if he doesn’t ask any questions.
Before I write the rest of the review, I need to say that I love the Song of Ice and Fire. I have read all the books up to now and I am a real fan of the great, majestic spectacle George R R Martin is able to create with his words. I love the clever characterisations and the way that he doesn’t necessarily protect his heroes (although I may change my mind if anything happens to Tyrion). You can see flashes of that brilliance in “Fevre Dreams”. The characters of Abner Marsh and Joshua York and particularly well thought out and drawn and even the horrible Sour Billy Tipton is sufficiently nasty so that I can admire the way he is written even though I dislike him.
What is missing here is action. This feels like a long book in the way that his very much longer books don’t. It goes on for such a long, ponderous time with very little happening that I began to lose interest. Much nearer the end, it is great to see the action pick up again – lots happening and tension building, but certainly in the middle there are chapters where nothing at all of consequence seems to happen and we are slowly steaming down the river with not a lot to look forward to.
It does actually therefore, seem that the end is very rushed and a lot more could be done to it. It is the nature of this author that you don’t necessarily think that the hero will win out, but in this case this appears only to be because of his reputation rather than this novel.
I did enjoy the story and I did really like the characters but I am glad it’s finished and that, to me, is not a recommendation for any novel.