Many millennia after the fall of Eden, Adam, the first man in creation, still walks the Earth – exhausted by the endless death and destruction, he is a shadow of his former hope and glory. And he is not the only one. The Garden was deconstructed, its pieces scattered across the world and its inhabitants condemned to live out immortal lives, hiding in plain sight from generations of mankind.
But now pieces of the Garden are turning up on the Earth. After centuries of loneliness, Adam, haunted by the golden time at the beginning of Creation, is determined to save the pieces of his long lost home. With the help of Eden’s undying exiles, he must stop Eden becoming the plaything of mankind.
Adam journeys across America and the British Isles with Magpie, Owl, and other animals, gathering the scattered pieces of Paradise. As the country floods once more, Adam must risk it all to rescue his friends and his home – because rebuilding the Garden might be the key to rebuilding his life.
What happens if you were born before death? This the premise behind the immortality in Birds of Paradise and it fits perfectly. You’d be forgiven for thinking that this is a religious book but other than the odd mention here or there, Birds of Paradise is a story of greed, revenge, megalomania and brutal violence. It was a book that took me by surprise from the very first page, the prologue very much setting the tone of what was to come with both beauty and pain poured across the page.
Set mainly in present day UK there was seemingly very little need to world built and having personally visited a few of the mentioned areas it helped me to visualise the scene, the story is descriptive when it needs to be which really enhanced the discovery of each piece of Eden. These parts shone as we really got to understand the simplicity of their beauty which stood out against the bleak backdrop of the flood. This is, however, very much Adam’s story. A man of few words, he approaches everything with a weariness, a bone tiredness which is only undone when he is given the opportunity to help things grow, the reverence in which he holds a single seed is such a juxtapose to the hands which are so often used for violence.
The villain is pure caricature but it works so well with the story as they need to be larger than life to overtake the morally grey fine line that Adam and the other exiles tread. The exiles also enhance the story, joining alongside Adam at opportune times helping him get to where he needs to be and finally to remember what he has shielded himself for so long.
I found Birds of Paradise to be a surprising and compelling read, one which shocked me with its brutality but also left me in wonder in its creativity. Thank you to Titan Books for providing me with a finished copy of this book for review.