This is the third Alan Shaw book and you do ideally need to read the other two first. I’ve already reviewed book 1 and book 2.
Grave Purpose is the third book in Craig Hallam’s steampunk trilogy. Craig has really grown as an author as the series has progressed, getting ever more thoughtful and impressive as he goes along.
The main character – Alan Shaw – started out as one of those have a go hero types, the kind of dashing, quipping, risk taking young man who dominates the action genre. From the beginning, Craig has brought other elements into his work – class especially in the first book, and colonialism in the second as he slowly unpicks the trope he’s working with.
In book three, we take a hard look at the implications of the action hero lifestyle. Alan is getting older. His various injuries have taken a toll and he isn’t magically free from the consequences of his actions. This is very much a novel about consequences and pain. If you like being hurt by authors (you know who you are) then get in there, this book is for you. I found it a very powerful read, although I did call Craig a whole selection of less than perfectly polite things while I was reading it. I know Craig well enough to be able to picture the evil smile this comment will elicit.
There’s a big issue here around disability representation. In real life, most disabled people don’t start out that way. Many people who suffer do so as a consequence of accidents or illnesses. It’s not something we see anything like enough of in stories. Mostly what we get in the action genre are impossible people doing outrageous things with no real consequences. Or we get unrealistic fantasies about recovery. I really appreciated getting to see the consequences. As a person who lives with pain, it was meaningful to me to see a fictional character living with pain. I felt Craig handled this aspect of the book superbly, and I think this is a depiction people who struggle will find resonant.
The story itself is full of action, mysteries to solve and consequences. I did mention the consequences?
You can find out more and buy the book from the publisher’s website, and all the other places that sell books. https://www.inspired-quill.com/product/grave-purpose/
March 13th, 2023 at 10:26 am
Thanks for this recommendation. Exactly the sort of fiction I am looking for, and on Amazon it is a very good price 👍
March 13th, 2023 at 10:36 pm
Sounds intriguing; I get tired of Supercrips in fiction.