Reviewed by: BigAl
Genre: Historical Fiction/Thriller/Dystopian
Approximate word count:
Edge of Darkness: Book One of The Bankster Chronicles 95-100,000 words
Darkness Descends: Book Two of the Bankster Chronicles 80-85,000 words
Edge of Darkness: Book One of The Bankster Chronicles
Darkness Descends: Book Two of the Bankster Chronicles
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Dave Jewett describes himself as “a student of history and money” with “a background in economics, monetary systems, rare coins, and precious metals.” Edge of Darkness: Book One of The Bankster Chronicles and Darkness Descends: Book Two of the Bankster Chronicles are his first novels. He lives in Eastern Washington.
These two volumes chronicle the history of money and modern banking in novel form, starting from about 1650 AD and continuing into the future.
Although the end of Darkness Descends, volume two of The Bankster Chronicles, leaves the possibility open for another volume, it makes sense to look at the first two volumes as a single unit. The first volume, Edge of Darkness, ends in a cliffhanger shortly before this epic story reaches our current time, and is historical fiction. Volume two picks up from there, and for much of the story fits more within the dystopian genre.
These books present a challenge in knowing how to evaluate them in a review. With a typical novel, I’d look at two major areas: the overall story (plot, characterization, flow, on so on) and specific areas relating to technical writing issues or style that are especially good, bad, or different enough from the norm that a reader should be informed so he or she can judge based on their own taste. However, this series purports to be more. The introduction says, “This is the story of the Dollar's death. It's about the real world - the real world of banking and how it affects each of us in our daily lives.”
The premise is a good one. Take a subject considered boring by many, yet valuable (even necessary) to understand, and integrate the basics into an entertaining story. If this was a non-fiction book, I’d also be looking at the facts and, if in dispute, at how well the author makes their case with verifiable facts and legitimate sources. I’m not sure that’s fair for fiction, but feel like I’d be remiss to ignore it in a book that purports to be largely real.
As the author says in the introduction, this story is complex, not just because of the period of time it covers, but because of the number of characters and sub-threads to keep straight. When viewed as pure fiction, the overall story is a good one. It has everything: good guys and bad guys, romance, intrigue, plenty of conflict, and even when you know where it is headed, you want to see how things play out for several characters who you’ll come to care about. The author uses clickable footnotes in the Kindle version (not exactly common in fiction) to define acronyms (possibly better explained in the main text) or to give more detail on technical concepts than is needed for the story (an excellent idea).
It isn’t uncommon for me to think the basic story in a book is good, with lots of potential, but that it falls well short of that potential due to issues at a very low level (typos, bad grammar, or distracting writing tics). These books, for the most part, don’t have those issues- with three exceptions. The first is an annoying habit of using the word “click” in a sentence by itself to denote the end of a phone conversation. We’ve read the dialogue where the parties have said their good-byes. We understand the phones get hung up. There were other situations like this, where we’re given too much detail, whether in description or action, than we need. The “click” for hanging up the phone was the most flagrant and frequent. Second was an overuse of ellipses to … um … you know? … show pauses in dialogue. Used sparingly to indicate something about the speaker’s state of mind, this is okay, but when overused, it becomes ineffective.
My bigger issues were at a higher level with several being issues that a good content editor would have caught. When several different unrelated story threads are going on at one time, keeping track of when something was happening was sometimes difficult because scenes seemed to be out of order chronologically. The best and most flagrant example of this was one scene, done from one character’s point of view, followed by other scenes, and then the same event as the first is repeated from another point of view. This issue of repeating things we already know was a frequent problem. Other examples are starting two different chapters off by repeating text from the same press release and giving a long and detailed description of a meeting room used for congressional hearings multiple times with very little difference from time to time. Describe it once, if needed. The reader will get a picture in their mind. Then say something brief so we’ll recall that picture (“it was in the same meeting room as the last hearing”) or, even better, assume we’re going to get the same mental picture of all of these meeting rooms after describing them once.
As for how “real” this story is, you’ll have to decide yourself. Some of it is undeniably true. Some of it is the author filling in the gaps with variations on the same old conspiracy theories. Multi-generational conspiracies with hundreds, if not thousands of people having at least partial knowledge without it leaking out is something I’m prone to disbelieve.
Adult language and situations.
No significant issues.
Rating: ** Two stars