I just finished reading The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins, who also writes geek books about Linux and Apache and so on. I enjoyed it, it’s a page-turner. One of the reviewers on Amazon said “This is what Gaiman’s American Gods should have been.” I’m not sure I’d go that far, but both address the tricky problem of divine personae lodged in Middle America.
It’s a big sprawling messy book with subdivisions and malls and trucker bars, and then there’s Father, a heartless God who fosters young Americans and trains them up, what business people call “succession planning”. The training involves infinite time and infinite cruelty, and on the occasion of that succession the consequences are really not good for the neighbohood, comprising the Earth.
For all the cosmic fireworks, the story’s mostly tactical and local and suburban. The characters who aren’t divine are compelling and fun, while the deranged-flyover-zone-deity villains ooze terror and, weirdly, pity.
Plus, there are a couple of lions who will leave a mark on you.
And then there’s Carolyn, our protagonist, who’s both human and divine, ruthless and sympathetic, full of surprises; a novelist’s triumph and a character I’m really, really glad to have spent four hundred pages with.