Gentlemen of the Road , by Michael Chabon, Sceptre 2007, 207pp.
I liked The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay so much that I wanted to read another book by the same author. How pleasing to find that Chabon had written an adventure yarn, complete with serialisation and illustrations. In the Afterword he explains that he had enough of being a New Yorker writer about finely-drawn feelings, and wanted to write a genre piece that he mentally titled Jews with Swords.
Too bad it's boring. None of the dire situations seem at all worrisome. The one big plot twist was hoary and visible miles off. The two heroes Amram and Zelikman are pleasant enough, but the witty writing of Kavalier is absent. The Jewish Khazar thing is probably interesting, but not enough detail is given here. Some marauding Northmen come down the Volga, but they were a lot more fun in The Long Ships.
Could it be harder to write good genre fiction than good artsy fiction?