Sacrifice of Fools
By Ian McDonald

Amazon link to Kindle EditionAmazon UK Book Link
Rating: Excellent Fun
3 Stars

First Published: 1996
Hardback Cover Illustration by: Mike Posen
Pages: 286 

Review © 2009 by Stephen Roof
Genre:  Science Fiction, Mystery, Thriller



Sacrifice of Fools by Ian McDonald is a very entertaining science fiction crime thriller.  This novel explores the human condition by imagining a future where a more advanced alien species has been allowed to bring thousands of settlers to earth in exchange for some very advanced and desirable new technology.  As might be expected, not everyone is happy with aliens moving next door. 

When a prominent alien family is brutally murdered, the police need the help of an ex-con to get to the bottom of the case quickly, before racial tensions lead to an escalation of violence.  The Irish government knows what can happen when violence goes unchecked.  As incredible as it may seem, outbreaks of violence have occurred before in Ireland, even before the aliens arrived, when prejudice was based on religion instead of race.

Sacrifice of Fools does a great job of portraying an alien species that is not grossly different outwardly from humans but is very different inwardly.  McDonald has fun examining the nature of prejudice and challenging assumptions about race, family, gender, and sex.  In addition, the central mystery has some interesting twists.  Don’t hesitate to put Sacrifice of Fools on your summer reading list.