Thursday, January 2, 2014

Is This the End??

In her latest book, After Dead, Charlaine Harris emphatically wraps up her very popular Sookie Stackhouse series by giving fans the answer to the question “what happened next?” Those of us who followed this series with delight over the years may have mixed feelings about the author’s decision to bring it to an end. I, for one, will miss reading about Sookie and her friends (and enemies) in Bon Temps, but I agree that it may have been just the right time to bring her adventures to an end. I enjoyed the last installment of the saga, Dead Ever After, and I’m happy that Ms. Harris gave us her idea of how things worked out for all of her characters in the latest and last of this series, After Dead. A friend told me that she did not enjoy knowing everybody’s outcome and would have preferred to believe that there might be more stories with different outcomes there.

Each author must make his or her own decision, of course, about the fate of a series or series character. Some will want to wrap things up, as Charlaine Harris did with Sookie Stackhouse. By the way, this author has written three other series over the years and I’m still hoping to see the return of Lily Bard in the series set in Shakespeare, Arkansas.

Some authors choose a relative to continue their work. Felix Francis continues in the tradition of his father, Dick Francis. Todd McCaffrey has added to the Dragonriders of Pern series begun by his mother, Anne McCaffrey.

Sometimes after an author dies the decision is left to the managers of his or her estate. A happy outcome to the Lord Peter Wimsey saga was given to readers by Jill Paton Walsh with the blessing of Dorothy Sayers’ estate. I found The Attenbury Emeralds to be respectful of the Wimsey canon and a satisfying last installment of the story of Peter and Harriet.

James Bond finds new adventures through the pens of many authors who are selected by the estate of Ian Fleming to write new 007 novels. While these are all top-notch novelists like Jeffrey Deaver (Carte Blanche) and Sebastian Faulks (Devil May Care), is Bond without Fleming really the same? Both of Robert Parker’s long-running series are being continued by different authors, the Jesse Stone novels by Michael Brandman and the Spenser series by Ace Atkins.

Finally, some authors just insist on keeping readers in suspense. Will Sharyn McCrumb ever write another Elizabeth MacPherson novel? Now that Armand Gamache has retired from the Surete will there be another installment in Louise Penny’s Three Pines series?

Oh, no…is this the end?

For some, it is; for others, only time will tell.


Maryellen @ Warrenton

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