Dance Me to the End of Time

by Robin Westley Martin

So long, farewell, I’m leaving you… goodbye. In his latest novel Christopher G. Moore brings to an end the travails and adventures of detective extraordinaire Vincent Calvino.

He has taken a smorgasbord of situations, characters, and locations, and whipped them up into a very palatable crème brulee of exploits and mysteries, set in a place that many readers will recognise, although it is actually a Bangkok that might yet come to be.

It’s a rather different Bangkok from when we first became acquainted with Calvino, 17 novels and thirty long years ago, in Spirit House, which was set in the hedonistic craziness of the late 80’s.

With Vincent Calvino Christopher G. Moore created a memorable character, together with his sidekicks, distaff interests, and many other interesting and equally memorable characters. In this finale we are initially introduced to a rather more sedate Calvino, who at first appears to have lost his mojo, and is no longer eager to ‘tilt at windmills’. He has been away from Bangkok for a couple of decades, but he soon begins to adapt to a changed Bangkok, a millennial, hot-wired Bangkok.

Amongst the characters we meet a Chinese-controlled Artificial Intelligence (AI), ‘mad’ scientists, and a cast of people who believe that Bangkok is a haven of existence for them. A strange presumption for some, maybe, but many still actually find it to be so.

The tale includes a hunt for an elusive young boy, delves into what the age of universal connectivity offers, and a Chinese-engineered bacterium even makes an appearance (how relevant is that)! There are close-knit guilds and secret societies that conspire to make Calvino’s job a trouble someone, and along the way there are assassinations, murders, and abductions, all set in a Bangkok that is yet to come. Maybe.

Dance Me to the End of Time is an engaging read that transports you to another place, another time… a colourful place a colourful time, with portrayals of people and places that are easy to imagine. The plot is engaging and keeps the reader wanting to know what happens next, right up to the end. I found myself reading more slowly as fewer and fewer pages remained to be read. I did not want my association with Vincent Calvino to come to a close. However, this is a satisfying end to the saga of Vincent Calvino. I am sad to see him exit the stage, but he will dance on, till the end of time.

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