Detailed view for the Book: Aces Abroad (Anthology)

After the exciting conclusion to the first trilogy, volume four begins the new triad in the now regular Wild Cards format of individual stories with an interlinking narrative. This time, our guide throughout the book is the mayor of Jokertown, Xavier Desmond (written by George R.R. Martin), who is part of a delegation of aces, jokers and politicians on a World Health Organisation sponsored fact-finding tour to see the effects of the virus in other countries.

Before that, a Tint of Hatred: Prologue (by Steven Leigh) introduces us to Sara Morgenstern, a respected reporter for The Washington Post as she reminds herself of why she's REALLY going on the upcoming tour. We get the first extract From The Journal of Xavier Desmond, then it's back to The Tint of Hatred: Part 1 (by Steven Leigh) where we get an inkling of the trouble to come once the tour reaches Syria as we meet the slightly unreasonable Nur al-Allah and his sister, Misha, while Sara makes Gregg Hartmann sweat a little before the tour starts.

Another entry From The Journal of Xavier Desmond then its Beasts of Burden (by John J. Miller) wherein the awful Ti Malice makes his debut as the tour hits Haiti, and Chrysalis sheds some of her customary cool when she experiences some of the local customs. The Tint of Hatred: Part 2 has Hartmann charming Sara before Blood Rites (by Leanne C. Harper) takes the tour to Guatemala. Here we meet Xbalanque and Hunapu, the 'Hero Twins', two aces on a mission from gods as they lead their people to the promised land.

Some more extracts From The Journal of Xavier Desmond follow, as well as The Tint of Hatred: Parts 3 & 4 wherein Hartmann experiences some of the Rio nightlife, before finally getting what he wants from the press in South Africa.

Down by the Nile (by Gail Gerstner-Miller) has the tour reaching Egypt where Peregrine meets the Living Gods who predict promising things to come. A further extract From The Journal of Xavier Desmond is followed by the final part of The Tint of Hatred in which the junket finally reaches Syria, and Hartmann meets his match in Nur al-Allah.

Another interlude From The Journal of Xavier Desmond before the tour arrives in Asia in The Teardrop of India (by Walton Simons), wherein a production company has to put its movie on hold when the leading man heads off to the jungle and a visiting diplomat points out the obvious. Then Down in the Dreamtime (by Edward Bryant) sees Cordelia Chaisson visiting Australia and introduces the aborigine shaman, Wyungare who teaches her to talk to the animals.

A further entry From The Journal of Xavier Desmond is followed by Zero Hour (by Lewis Shiner) where the junket reaches Japan, and Peregrine fulfils a prophecy by asking a missing ace to perform a deed for herself and another for a friend. Two more entries From The Journal of Xavier Desmond and then Puppets (by Victor Mil??n) moves the action to Germany where Gregg Hartmann becomes the guest of a dysfunctional terrorist cel out to make a killing.

The troupe hits France in Mirrors of the Soul (by Melinda Snodgrass) where Jack Braun and Tachyon come to an understanding of sorts and the doctor's grandson, Blaise makes his first appearance. In the final story, Legends (by Michael Cassutt) Georgy Polyakov offers us a secret history of Russia and travels to England to ask an old comrade on the junket a favour.

There's a final extract From The Journal of Xavier Desmond somewhere over the Atlantic before an article From The New York Times concludes the journey.

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