Abaddon Books, out now
The life and death of a universe…
That may sound as if this book – one in a pulp series – has pretensions to grandeur, and in an odd way, it does. Tackling themes that you might not expect to find in this sort of novel, Pax Omega is a major step away from the normal Steampunk Pax Britannia books, but once you realise what Ewing is attempting, it’s a case of going with the flow and seeing if he can pull off something this audacious.
And to a greater extent, Ewing does. Rather than the usual alternate history idea of taking an event in the past and changing the outcome, then seeing what that leads, Ewing postulates that the whole Pax Britannia universe is different, right from the very start. It’s not evolved to the point we see in the novels – it’s been manipulated that way. This gives him a huge canvas on which to tell his story, stretching from the dawn to the dusk of time, while still allowing for the superheroes-versus-Nazi-robots adventures that we’ve come to expect.
It’s one of those novels that you almost need to re-read instantly on finishing so that you can see how all the pieces fit together once you know the picture they’re creating – but even though it gives the fate of some of the key characters, let’s hope that this isn’t the last time we’re going to meet Doc Thunder or El Sombra.
Verdict: Leave your preconceptions aside and enjoy this for the grand scenario it presents. 7/10