S. Andrew Swann
Fearful Symmetries (1999)
You can't keep an old cat down. Fearful Symmetries sees the return of Nohar Rajasthan, everybody's favorite anthropomorphized tiger, originally introduced in Swann's first Moreau novel. It has been about a decade since Nohar has retired from his work as a P.I. and from civilization in general. When a human lawyer shows up at his log cabin in the woods and tries to hire him for an anonymous client in a missing person case, Nohar firmly declines. By page eleven Nohar's world is up in flames, the carnage has started, and the big cat realizes that whatever the pink wanted to involve him in does indeed deserve his attention.
The novel follows the pattern laid down by the previous books in the series, involving the protagonist in an ever worsening crisis, escaping from which requires cutting through to the heart of a lethal conspiracy of unexpected proportions.
Nohar has grown old and weary. His joints are creaking, his back is aching. For much of the book the action feels a bit subdued, only going into overdrive towards the end. The big cat feels out of joint with the times, old friendships having turned into nostalgia. A thing out of his past slams into Nohar and leaves him reeling. There are indeed fearful symmetries to behold. Swann has amply proven that he can write an action story and now strives for some ambitious character building. This novel is not a straight sequel, but indeed, as the subtitle proclaims, "The Return of Nohar Rajasthan".
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