Page 45 Review by Jonathan
"Now back to the news in Montreal. For three days now, Viger Square has been under rebel occupation. The group calls itself "The Bastards Of God" and their spokesman has claimed that it is just the beginning."
"What is this crap?! War's breaking out in the centre of town?!"
"Be quiet! Listen."
"Their manifesto includes the demand that the Jouvex treatment be made available to all sick children... Ever since the controversy of Little Uji, polls show a growing anger at what is perceived as the authorities' ineptitude... as there is little question that her death could have been avoided."
"What more will it take? How many more like Uji will have to die until those assholes do something?! It's sickening."
"I know. But that's life, Leon. We haven't seen the end of this; there will always be those considered expendable..."
Indeed. But given the Jouvex company, with their bold slogan "Soon, Eternal" is owned by the megalomaniac Norton - who is only interested in selling his lifespan extending vaccine treatment to the very select few of the population that can possibly afford the ridiculous price tag -- I can't see Jouvex indulging in such charitable, compassionate largesse any time soon. Certainly not within the 200 years that the Jouvex treatment is currently allowing people to live, provided they keep up their payments, of course...
No, especially not given Norton had the original inventor Dr. Simon Gomar murdered to have it all to himself. Gomar suspected something was going to happen, though, and managed to destroy his perfected formula, leaving only the early stage research notes for Norton to piece together an inferior version from. Which is the reason why, some twenty-six years later, the efficacy of the commercial Jouvex vaccine is showing some disturbing signs of beginning to fail...
Set against the backdrop of considerable social unrest in what is already a mildly dystopian society, struggling with elevated sea levels, a damaged climate and a staggering wealth gap between the very small number of 'haves' and the infinitely more numerous 'have-nots', Montreal is the proverbial fizzing powder keg getting ready to blow. Indeed, the Latin title of this work translates as 'from anger', which is highly appropriate, though I suspect its usage in civil law is the author's specific intent, where the meaning is of a gift or bequest given with adverse intentions due to anger felt towards the recipient...
It blows, by the way. The powder keg that is Montreal. Getting caught up in the fisticuffs and fireworks are new boy in town Riel, and his considerably more savvy, burgeoning crush Neve, who takes him under her streetwise wing. There's also a mysterious lady in trenchcoat and shades, a couple of honest police officers, plus some corporate katana-wielding, star-slinging ninjas and a fair few other oddball characters in this tremendous piece of speculative fiction with its central premise that is very probably going to become reality in the not too distant future.
Ask yourself the question: do you really think if scientists find a way to massively extend the lifespan of a human being it will be made available to all? No, it'll most likely be used to further tighten the grip that the one percent has on this planet and its resources, including everyone else. In perpetuity. Just a cheery thought for you.
Moving on... given how beautiful the ligne claire artwork is from Québécois creator Theirry Labrosse, there was the slight fear in my mind, as there is with all such gorgeous 'Euro-books', that does the quality of the story compare? It does, and Labrosse throws in a nice couple of curve balls - which is très tricky and more than a little bit dangerous with solid steel Boules, let me tell you - and keeps it as gripping as a multinational corporation holding onto their taxes, right up to the eminently satisfying denouement.