Australia is turned into a fuse of sci-fi standards and wild west in the first installment in a new series by Marianne de Pierres. Peacemaker takes the clichés and turn them on its head. de Pierres creates a story that has the familiarity of a buddy cop dynamic with the exotic backdrop of future Australia. While some elements feel a bit too stereotypical, de Pierres manages to make that part of the charm of Peacemaker.
When an imaginary animal from her troubled teenage years reappears, Virgin takes it to mean one of two things: a breakdown (hers!) or a warning. When the dead bodies start piling up around her and Nate, she decides on the latter. Something terrible is about to happen in the park and Virgin and her new partner are standing in its path…
Virgin Jackson is the senior ranger in Birrimun Park – the world’s last natural landscape, overshadowed though it is by a sprawling coastal megacity. She maintains public safety and order in the park, but her bosses have brought out a hotshot cowboy to help her catch some drug runners who are affecting tourism. She senses the company is holding something back from her, and she’s not keen on working with an outsider like Nate Sixkiller.
The characters of Peacemaker may have been a bit bland but the lead character Virgin still manages to hold her own. As the protagonist, Virgin is the park ranger who loves her small piece of nature amid the futuristic world of de Pierres’s creation. She isn’t charming or amusing but that’s what makes her seem real. The best part of Virgin’s character is by far her confidence in who she is. Her interactions with others seem forced at points but we quickly come to see this is simply part of her stand offish manner. While I didn’t exactly relate to any of the characters, they were fully fleshed out, making it easy to know what each character would do in a given situation.
The beautiful thing about Peacemaker is the mystical. Virgin quickly realizes that her world is not what it seems and Pierres navigates this storyline well. My favorite elements were that of a spirit guide and the facets of many cultures are woven into an investigation.
As a nice parallel to the magic element,de Pierres has a strong political subplot. We are able to see the world shaped as anyone who believes in something out of the norm is placed at the fringes of society. de Pierres not only shows us the state of the world she writes in but also what the fictional movers and shakers wanted it to be and where they still want it to go. This hands down was my favorite aspect of Peacemaker and is what helped drive the investigation storyline.
There are many decent books and Peacemaker falls right into that category for me. With a moderate pace and entertaining storyline, I liked this book for what it was. It wasn’t revolutionary nor the best book I have read recently but ultimately I would love to see where Pierres takes these characters next.