Book of the Week: The Black Chamber.

It is difficult to write anything about the background to SM Stirling’s The Black Chamber without casually breaking my own rules about not discussing certain topics.  Suffice it to say that, as an introductory book to an action series, it is quite good; plenty of fights and derring-do and super-tech (for 1916) gadgetry and whatnot.  It is also made reasonably clear that this alternate history (Teddy Roosevelt wins in 1912 after Howard Taft has a heart attack) is not quite the Progressive (note capitalization) Earthly Utopia that the heroine thinks that it is; quite a few rather ominous things and societal trends are lightly alluded to, in a way that allows the reader to raise an eyebrow at the implications. I look forward to some interest as to how the next few books in the series turn out, because there are some indications that it’s going to be set in an altogether pleasant world.