The Glass of Time: The Secret Life of Miss Esperanza Gorst - Michael Cox There is something about the redeemable bad guy, or more accurately, there is something about certain bad guys that make people want to redeem them. Usually, it fails in terms of the story. The bad guy becomes too saint like or something else.Take the three Star Wars prequels, for instance (aka the bad Star Wars movies). In the three prequels, Lucas wanted to present the fall of a good man, a space opera Macbeth as it were.Shakespeare has nothing to worry about (unless, he's turning over in his grave, but considering the amount of bad up-dates of his plays, he's going to be spinning for a long time).The prequels had huge problems. The most revelent being why Padme would marry Anakin in the first place. I went to Clones with three other people. None of us knew what made Anakin attractive. Considering that this deep love is suppose to feed the fear that leads to Annie's fall, you would think it would be believable. The prequels convinced me that none of the whole galatic mess would've happened if (a) Jedi had brains, and (b) Yoda, Obi, or Mace had given Anakin a good hiding. Yes, I know spanking is out right now, but if any spoiled brat needed it, it was him. Why does true love excuse his violent behavior and make Padme into a weak willed woman who sounds like a bad version of Samwise when she confronts her husband? (Honey, he killed all those Sand people!). Why does true love make a man who is a mulitple mass murderer, kills his teacher, tries to kill his son, freezes Han Solo, and tortures his daughter into a good guy who gets his own cartoon? (And why didn't Vader know Leia was his? How come veryone was surprised about twins? Was pre-natal care really that bad?)Sometimes, however, redeeming the bad guy works. Take the movie Mongol, for instance. (Yes, don't worry. I will eventually get to the book). It is a sympathic view of Gengsis Khan, who if you are Western or Chinese, you have, at the very least, mixed feelings about. The movie made me want to marry him. He loves his wife, she loves him, she saves him by letting her self be wife napped, he gets her back, like she knew he would. Eventually, he gets captured and handed over to the Chinese. A monk gets a message to Khan's wife who journeys to get him out of jail (and boy is it a jail). To even get to China, she uses the only currency she has, herself. When she rescues her husband and they flee China, they are accompanied by their son as well as her daughter who was not, biologically speaking, his. The Khan's first words to the girl, "I'm your father now." Doesn't rebuke his wife, is simply happy to see her, doesn't treat the girl any differently than his son. He still has flaws, but the movie makes him an attractive and believable man.This bad guy talk is important because Cox's first book was about a murderer who may or may not be a bad guy, and may or may not be insane. The Glass of Time is the sequel and answers these questions.It is difficult to talk about this book without giving away spoilers for either The Meaning of Night or this sequel. In many ways, the answering of the questions raised in the first book, is somewhat of a disappointment. The reader, I think, of the first book is better without those answers. The story is better when the reader doubts the characters.I say somewhat, because the theme of the book is forgiveness, and theme as well as the plot require the answers to those questions. Twenty years after the events of the first book, the characters still feel the ghost, the decay of those events. The book is the bastard child of Wuthering Heights, Jane Eyre, and the works of Wilkie Collins. Cox was the heir to the Brontes and Collins (he seems like their much delayed love child).Cox's redeeming of his bad guy is far more believable and realstic than Star Wars: The Bad Trilogy, more like Mongol. This means that while some twists are foreseeable, the novel is believable, which is more important than shocking. Cox's tone, gripping and fast paced, makes up for any easy to foresee plot twists.Cox's death has robbed this generation of its Brontes, James, and LeFanu.