Only Blue Will Do by Mark Rippon. Book Review

ONLY BLUE WILL DO by Mark Rippon, Matador, p/b, £9.99,

Reviewed by Sandra Scholes

As time is a puzzle for many scientists, this writer does not like to take artistic licence too far, but does want to give Julian Barbour a nod for the inspiration he gave him along the way. As Mark says on the cover of his book, “saving the planet can take you out of this world,” and it does.

Hugh and his girlfriend have been in Norway for months, investigating the environmental impact of climate change. Talking to himself, an after effect of being alone in the frozen tundra for so long, he only wants to get some time alone with Kate. Being so far away from civilization has made him unhappy even though he is doing work that is considered cutting-edge, sample collecting. So when he discovers two bodies in the ice, he is visited by a wolf and a man unlike anyone he has ever seen before. Rather than spending a long time getting into the characters, by chapter 2, we find out Hugh and Kate have seen the body snatchers take the iced bodies through the snow storm, hoping they won’t follow. References to Star Trek Classic are welcome in a story set in the frozen wastes of Norway, as are the naughty thoughts of Hugh who finds it hard to keep his beloved Kate out of his mind. A voice known as Janus addresses them in the cave they find themselves in after the storm, telling them they can help him prevent the destruction of the Paraverse by the cruel Prince Adren.

Janus by compelling the two of them takes them out of what would have been another routine, boring mission in Norway. Hugh seems thankful he has a new purpose to see where other life exists and help prevent an imbalance in the Paraverse. Kate’s the one with the common-sense while Hugh has the observational skills and cannot wait for another adventure. This is kind of like a trip from a boring house into the wardrobe through Narnia. It takes a while for the two of them to adjust to the new world, but you get the impression they are enjoying the adventure.

Travelling through a tunnel, meeting new people is a good thing, but being tried as a witch is the opposite end of the spectrum. It is fortunate that Kate agrees to help them rid their world of Prince Adren and his evil cohorts, but another burning question is whether they can get back to their world once their mission is complete. Kate understands why she is there in that other land, and instead of defying Sebastian and Dominic, she realizes her calling, that she is there for a reason, and that is to team up with Sebastian to fight against the evil prince, but despite her words, she and Hugh don’t like being prisoners, and betrayal is on the cards for them all. There are issues of trust they have to get over before they can even think about fighting and defeating the prince. Only Blue Will Do is an adventure with a difference that is original in that it doesn’t seem to resemble any other fantasy novel. Those who would enjoy reading the Chronicles of Narnia would consider this an adult version of it.