A lot of critics seem to like Archform: Beauty, and I can’t really disagree with them.  It tells its story from five points of view, switching among them as it progresses.  Despite the title and the presence of five narrators, I didn’t really see much evidence of Bartók’s arch form in the structure of the book.  Beauty is, however, on the minds of the characters, though each has different ideas about what is beautiful.

Mostly, though, it’s a detective story.  Illegality has transpired, and the characters, variously, have committed it, are chasing it, or are affected by it.  The different threads of the story tie together marvelously as events work their way forward.

Modesitt also gets points for a very well-developed world.  Language usage has changed a bit in three hundred years, and the book is littered with new turns of phrase.  It’s not too hard to figure out meaning, though, and a short ways into the book I found the terms nonintrusive.


I’ll admit that I was disappointed a bit by Kemal’s death, mostly because he didn’t get what was coming to him.  Nevertheless, it was quite reasonable in the context of the book.  I was very happy with the tying together of Parsfal’s and Cornett’s threads at the end—the poet and the singer.

With respect to me discussion of endings in an earlier post, I’ll point to this one as an ending that left things loose or unresolved but still gave me a sense of closure.  (I had tears in my eyes at the last scene, even if Parsfal’s poetry wasn’t spectacular.)