Review of “The House of Daniel”

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“The House of Daniel” eBook was published in 2016 (April) and was written by Harry Turtledove (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harry_Turtledove). Mr. Turtledove has authored more than 100 novels.

I received a galley of this novel for review through https://www.netgalley.com. I categorize this novel as ‘PG’ as there are a few scenes of violence. This novel is set in the mid 30s at the height of the depression in a world similar to ours, but different in that it contains magic, vampires and zombies. The main character is Jack Spivey a semi-pro baseball player from Enid, OK.

Spivey mostly relies on his baseball for enough cash to get by on. He reluctantly takes a job for the local crime boss. When he shows up at the door of someone he is to rough up, he is surprised to find that it is a young woman. Unable to hurt her, he tells her to get out of town.

Knowing that the boss will take out his displeasure on him, Spivey is able to find a position on the traveling House of Daniel semi-pro baseball team and leaves Enid. He isn’t the best ball player, but is able to hold his own with the team. They travel across the southwest playing many games and winning most.

Along the way Spivey sees first hand a lot of people worse off than he had been in Enid. He is confronted with racism when he plays against, then with black and hispanic ball players. Along the way the team competes in an important baseball tournament in Denver and is caught up in a zombie uprising.

I spent about 11.5 hours with this 333 page novel. Certainly this book talks a lot about baseball, particularly as it existed in the 1930s. I enjoyed the fact that I have been to many of the small towns that are mentioned in the story. I guess it could be considered a Fantasy because of the magical characters, but they really only played a small part in the story. Likewise, it could be an Alternate History, which is much of what Turtledove writes now. I am not much of a baseball fan, but I did find this book interesting. There was a bit of excitement, but mostly it was just an interesting story of life in the 30s. I give this novel a 4.4 (rounded down to a 4) out of 5.

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/31181778-john-purvis).

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