Samsara Moon is the debut novel from HNS member S.H. Post. The story follows the life of British military man Captain Stephen Hamilton during the turn of the 20th century. After he experiences a devastating personal tragedy, Hamilton embarks on a journey of recovery that spans the British Empire. He experiences the turmoil of war and the changing landscape of a new century. The story sweeps him from the windswept shores of western Ireland to the immensity of the South African Veld, to the halls of the British Raj in Calcutta, and the hills and tea gardens of Darjeeling.
The plot is atmospheric and rich in historical detail, and it’s clear that it was thoroughly and meticulously researched. The depth of military, cultural and geographical knowledge of the lands under the dominion of the British Empire is impressive.
The author’s website (www.shpost.info) claims Samsara Moon to be: “history… from the heart.” The history and the tragedy are most certainly apparent. What is lacking, however, is the emotional intensity and depth of characterization that such a plot, filled as it is with pain, grief, and self searching, demands. The character of Stephen Hamilton comes across as stiff, wooden, and one-dimensional, even arrogant at times; much of the dialogue is labored and stilted.
Overall, I learned a great deal of history from this book, but I did not find it an enjoyable read.