As much as I hate to start a review with a definition, I think that it’s appropriate in this setting.
“a shadow world where the norms of civilised behaviour have been abandoned. It is often the artistic and intellectual cliques who are thought to inhabit the Demi-Monde as these are populated by those individuals who find it difficult to accept/obey the precepts and morality of “civilised” society.”
The first definition is the sociological explanation that covers Demi-Monde as a phrase, and the second is Rod Rees’ definition of the setting for his novel. The literal translation of Demi-Monde is Half-World, and Rees takes all three of the definitions presented, and creates a world that is the complete opposite of what we think is right and good. The thing that I think is the most interesting about the world Rees’ created is that it’s a combination of all the periods of our own history. The results are drastic, particularly places them in a world where technology is readily available, and there is a peculiar thirst for blood. I mean that literally, the denizens of the Demi-Monde are require
d to ingest a certain amount of blood to survive. In this reality political systems that never came to fruition because society rejected them are the norm. HimPerialism, and HerEticalism, are the main political systems of the Demi-Monde, that are controlled by Beria, and Empress Wu respectively.
However the Demi-Monde isn’t representation of an alternate reality in which this all came to fruition. It’s a virtual reality, a computer based training camp for the U.S. military to give it’s untrained soliders the chance to experience a real world combat situation. Ella Thomas is the lucky young woman whose life gets turned upside-down when she is sent to the Demi-Monde on a mission from the government. She is an African-American woman, whose singing voice, intelligence, and appearance are used to the advantage of the U.S. military in a rescue mission. They send her in as a “shade chirp” aka a black jazz singer, and her sole mission is to find and retrive the daughter of the U.S. President, who was tricked into entering the Demi-Monde. She of course is dragged into so much more than what she expected, and she and the characters you meet along the way prove to be instrumental in the fate of the people of the Demi-Monde and the real world as well.
I had the second novel shipped from England because I needed to continue the story, and I will be reviewing that as soon as it gets here, and i’ve read it. (fingers crossed for February 7th)
Get Demi-Monde at AbeBooks!
It’s also 1.99 on the Kindle on Amazon, but supporting small independent bookstores is more important.