The Iron Bridge
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The Iron Bridge
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Reviews of The Iron Bridge
"This is a startling novel, and especially for Quakers. . . it takes us
imaginatively into our history, and it questions our assumptions about our
present and our future."
"I was involved at Ironbridge for 20 years and was thrilled to see
numerous historical items that had been discovered during my time being
incorporated into the novel. It also draws heavily on the contemporary scholarly
work of Arthur Rastrick, Barrie Trinder, and Lady Laboucere, as well as many
contemporary records. It is a thrilling tale, and once I had picked it up on
Christmas Day, I could not put down again for a further three days. Obviously
I will not announce the outcome of the novel, but let us say that it is at least
". . . "The Iron Bridge" pours into history like molten iron itself and molds into an appealing read with something important to say."
"The author's seamless weave of sf, fantasy, and historical fiction will appeal to readers of all three genres. His ability to make the fanastic seem utterly plausible is reminsicent of Ursula K. Le Guin or David Brin."
"A book reader's match for a Sibelius symphony. . . This is a book not just to be read, but to be reread at any early opportunity."
"Reading David Morse's "The Iron Bridge", I spiraled into a fictive dream that seemed at times more real than the world around me. Told in prose that is cinematic and sensual, vivid and true, this extraordinary novel invites us to glimpse the future as we see, taste, and touch the historical past. "The Iron Bridge" is a work of vision and verisimilitude."
"In Morse's novel, subversion is not wrapped in puritanical moralizing: a bit of lesbianism, unfettered by political implications, brings neither guilt nor retiribution. For Maggie, it's an unsettling quest for identity."
". . .conveys a deep concern for the fate of the planet."
"It's unusual for a book to satisfy science fiction and historical fiction fans simultaneously. The Iron Bridge is such a book. . . Although fictional, its history is impressively researched and his story one of fascinating speculation... evoking a sense of urgency about our environment that leaves the reader thinking long after the
book is closed."
"The emotional power of "The Iron Bridge" also comes from the subtleties. He wrings our hearts through Maggie Foster's agonies of conscience, Abraham Darby's yearning for the farmer's life, and the raft of everyday sufferings and struggles of the people of Coalbrookdale, not through the devastation of some vast catastrophe. But what most sets "The Iron Bridge" apart from a novel like "Newton's Cannon" is its thematic spine. The action of the novel corresponds to the exploration of a theme, a question, an idea - in fact, many of these at once. Can the course of
history be changed? Is it morally right to change it? Are there imnmutable ills in the human spirit that will doom our species to self-destruction? "The Iron Bridge" is a magnificent book, and its magic lies in how it simultaneously offers a heart-rending story and fuel for some very deep intellectual pondering."
"Like the inverse of de Camp's "Lest Darkness Fall" (1941), blended with Benford's "Timescape" (1980) and Jack Finney's "Time and Again" (1970), Morse's hefty, seductive, leisurely paced tale concerns a ruined future, a historical turning point, and the movers and shakers and average souls caught up in powerful cultural and technological tides. . .
"Except for very brief flashbacks, all of Morse's story is set in eigheenth-century Shropshire. Yet the novel never becomes a simple historical piece. Splitting his narrative among three points of view - Maggie's, Darby's, and Wilkinson's - Morse never loses sight of the blasted world of 2043 or the chronoparadoxes they have engendered. Yet his accomplished portrait of Fielding-era England is also meticulous and enchanting. Riffing on the rich meaning of steam and iron for our society, Morse will occasionally burst into a welcome gonzo interlude, such as the dope-smoking scene among Wilkinson, Josiah Wedgwood, and Erasmus Darwin. . . With Biblical overtones of both Genesis and Revelations, filled with captivating personalities, both sanguine and sad about humanity's nature, Morse's "The Iron Bridge" should stand proudly for a good long time."
"The most compelling character is Maggie herself, who lives in a confused loneliness of unsharable memories and secrets as she sets down roots in the world she has entered, growing to love those who she has come to betray. . . Usually, as a consumer of fiction, I know as I read what kind of ending to expect - happy, sad, redemptive, or cynical - the destination is obvious; the suspense in not knowing how
that ending will be achieved. But I read "The Iron Bridge" in true bafflement, not knowing what conclusion to expect, or even what to hope for. I will say only that I thought the ending was a wise one, and even that may be revealing too much. . . I recommend this book wholeheartedly."
"[Morse's] depiction of 18th-century England provides the closest thing to time travel we've got at the moment."
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© copyright David Morse, 2003-2011