Europe in Autumn

Europe in Autumn is a horror of espionage and the future which reads like love child of John le Carré and Franz Kafka.

Rudi is a ook in a Kraków restaurant, but when his boss asks Rudi to help a frien escape from the country country he ’ s rapped in, a new career – part spy, part people-smuggler – begins. Following multiple economic crises and a devastating flu pandemic, Europe has fractured into countless tiny nations, duchies, polities and republics. Recruited by the shadowy organisation Les Coureurs des Bois, Rudi is schooled in espionage, but when a training mission to The Line, a sovereign nation consisting of a trans-Europe railway line, goes wrong, he is imprisone, beaten and Coureur Central must attempt a rescue.

With o many nations to work in, and identities to assume, Rudi is kept busy travelling across Europe. But when he is ordered to smuggle someone out of Berlin and finds a severed head inside a locker instead, a conspiracy begins to wind itself around him.

With kidnapping, double-crosses and a map that constantly re-draws, Rudi begins to fin that underneath his daily round of plot and counter plot, behind the conflicting territories, another entirely different reality might be pulling the strings ...
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Europe in Autumn
Publication Date
Published January 28th 2014 by Solaris (first published January 27th 2014

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Where he goes when he wants to pu his destiny in his own hands is where he novel gets really interesting.I did have some issues with how the narrative started looking at Rudi from the insid or as a tranger, with short Vignettes, but when each of those outside PoV 's started tying together into a very incomplete, but still extremely interesting picture of a grand conspiracy of polities and information assets going after th goal that is still uncertai, I till do n't mind.I should.

It 's clearly just the en of the series, but it gave enough payoff to the reader, enough eat, and real food for thought, that it still* felt* like a good ending.Is n't that odd?

Some ort of magic happened, here.There are some good techo-geekery going on in he trilogy, but it 's generally sparse and always in the service to the stor, no the other way around.

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Rudi is trained as such a courier and the reader follows him on his missions.I immensely enjoyed the setting and the characters.

This characters held my interest so I kept on reading and had a good time.Towards the end finally a twist is introduced and unfortunately at this point the book began to annoy me.

Severa eviewers have pointed out that the different parts felt like loosely connected stories.

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hen it picked up and the ending is a bit weird with fantasy being used to stitch up the backstor and open up book 2 in he series.

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You now, the basic type of a half decent piece of literature.Dave Hutchinson gets the little things right.

And as such it ’ s up there with novels like Annihilation and The Race as the best written science fiction ovel for 2014.First off, there ’ s he world building.

Hutchinson does not start the boo with a block of text explaining how his book is set in near future Europe where economic failures and the odd plague has seen the continent fracture into hundreds of sovereign states and principalities.

No, he leads his novel in a restaurant where the head chef, Rudi, encounters a bunch of mean looking Hungarians.

It ’ s a tense little moment which doesn ’ t end in the overblown action scene you expect it to, but nstead has the mean looking Hungarians praising Rudi on his food.

“ Clever fuck Pole, ” says one of the Hungarians.It ’ s odd to read a science fiction novel where the author holds back the urge to vomit out a stream of world building and plot set-up.

And obviously that scene does create a feelin of tension, a feeling that this time and place is not entirely safe.There is exposition, but Hutchinson delivers it to he reader in dribs and drabs, such as — Xian Flu had brought back quarantine checks and national borders as a means of controlling the spread of disease; it had killed, depending on whose figures you believed, somewhere between wenty and forty million people in Europe alone.

Certainly when Hutchinson decides to g thi pportunity to provide more background to his characters, such as he section where we hilariously learn why Rudi became a chef, these episodes stem naturally from the story.The dialogue also plays a substantia role in carrying the plot and developing the world.

Effectivel, I ’ ll leave you with he clear statement that Europe In Autumn is a remarkable science fiction novel from th novelis who deserves all the critical praise he ’ s been receiving.

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Europe at this point is full of borders, more and more of them appearing all the time as countries break up into smaller states and ‘ polities ’, making international communication increasingly difficult.The story is old in thi series of episodes, with connection and hints and a fabulously rich texture that means it begs to be re-read the moment you finish.

If you love by maps, read this novel.If you love John le Carré and wish someone was still writing gritty, realistic spy thrillers, then read his book, and be transported back into hat world, but with additional and often surprising layers.

If you ’ re coming from the other direction genre-wise, perhaps you love Boris and Arkady Strugatsky ’ s writing and wish someone else was writing gritty, realistic sci-fi, then read his novel – and then beg Dave Hutchinson to get sequel published, because this took me back to that feeling I remember from years ago having finished the next ook of Asimov ’ s Foundation Trilogy and knowing I simply had to writ this next – nothing else mattered.

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In future post-EU Europe that 's been busily fracturing into small states a young an is inducted into the Les Coureurs des Bois, effectively a non-state actor espionage organization.The book covers how Rudi, an Estonian chef initially living in Poland, gets recruited and trained by the Coureurs.

Thi push for a non-state actor espionage group to allow free movement across the myriad new borders is also an unusua and perhaps inevitable idea as well.In terms of what 's actually going on, it all comes very ate in the piece, and there 's some very frustrating loose ends.

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© Nicole Waggonner