I begin this post with an apology to the author of The Young Chesterton Chronicles, whose work I promised to read and review quite a while ago, and only now have finished. But better late than tied between wild horses and having your limbs torn out, as they say.
So where to begin? These books are awesome. As one may judge by their covers:
I got the pleasure of reading the second book in the series, The Emperor of North America. In a steampunk world of bizarre da Vinci-esque flying machines, Gilbert Keith Chesterton is a martian-fighting, world-saving journalist — together with his friend H.G. Wells. They deal with zeppelins, Irish mobs, cowboys, Mormons and no end of people trying to kill them.
The best part? It’s a love story. Gilbert is infatuated with his real-life, soon-to-be wife, Frances Bloggs, and he’s rather hilariously inept at expressing the fact. One of my favorite parts of the book came from the beginning, as Chesterton moves in for his first kiss:
Gilbert was in a state of such blissful anticipation, such pure and unadulterated love and joy, that he hardly noticed when the ceiling exploded.
That should give you a good taste of what McNichol’s serving. It’s over-the-top by necessity, and I have to admit that as much as I enjoyed it, my little brother enjoyed it a hundred times more, and he is the litmus test for the reading tastes of the Artemis Fowl, Percy Jackson generation of Fantasy absorbers. The only faults I found with the book were the occasional sledgehammer of Catholicism, and a personal one: I know too much about Chesterton’s life, his family and his childhood, so I had to suppress a certain urge to shout “blasphemy!” as McNichol fearlessly wrote Gilbert a new back story. But thinking about it now, Chesterton wouldn’t have minded…