What to do now that Artemis Fowl, that loveable rogue, has ‘retired?’ Luckily, the fact that Eoin Colfer writes hardboiled adult crime novels these days, has not prevented him from coming up with more outlandish plot ideas for us younger readers.
In W.A.R.P. The Reluctant Assassin he returns to the Victorian era, with a crime thriller complete with a sci-fi twist. As Eoin warns in his author’s notes, there are neither vampires nor werewolves on offer, but he can give you mutants, murderers, magicians, and other dreadful types. And an ‘Injun princess.’
We have Victorian urchin Riley and 21st century FBI agent Chevron Savano, age 17. (So, totally unrealistic. Or not. How are we to know what those alphabet agents really get up to?) What’s more, we have a wormhole. And Riley and Chevie couldn’t meet without one or other of them travelling through said wormhole.
Other people go through the wormhole, too, and in some cases it doesn’t end so well. W.A.R.P. is the witness relocation scheme with a difference. Witnesses are stashed in 1898, which is so safe.
There is a villain, who – I think – is actually quite charming. The blurb describes Garrick as a terrifying assassin – which he is – but I quite liked him. Not sure if I was meant to.
So, a thriller set in London, now and in 1898. The advantage being that even an FBI agent will recognise the landmarks in the past. They are the same, but smell worse. And Riley’s reaction to television was quite something.
This book has the usual humour that you come to expect and crave from Eoin, and whereas at times I was afraid that it would turn out to be only a Victorian FBI through the wormhole kind of affair, when you get to the end – which is not really an end at all – you understand that there is much more to it. Temptingly so.