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Shelf Indulgence

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Chuck Wendig
Samuel R. Delany
Charles L. Grant

Symphony (The Millennium Quartet)

Symphony (The Millennium Quartet) - Charles L. Grant Symphony is the first in a quadrilogy of books featuring each of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, each set in a small, rural town in the United States. It's a nice effect; Grant creates a microcosm of society where the apocalypse begins, taking what would normally be an epic story and condensing it into small town America. The story follows Grant's usual style, with a long build-up among a large cast of characters, with the final confrontation taking place in the last quarter of the book. This time he mixes in some of the signs of the Apocalypse, giving the story a different flavor from his other small-town America stories. There's even a neat bit of narrative toward the end of the book where Grant passes the narrative from character to character as they pass each other on the street, creating a chain that takes the reader from one end of town to the other.

(Some trivia: Black Oak is the name of the main road through the town that serves as the setting for the story, which is also the name of the X-Files-ish series Grant wrote in the late 1990s.)

For me, I think Grant is an author I can appreciate without feeling the need to read everything he wrote (despite doing pretty much just that). It's like classical music; I can appreciate it for what it is, but it's not something I want to listen to every day. Symphony, like most of his novels, isn't perfect (I wasn't entirely clear how the protagonist could have defeated the antagonist, as I felt like Grant didn't develop that enough), but it's an entertaining read nonetheless, and an intriguing beginning to the series.