The Dancer in the Painted Mask by Rod Vick
Photo: Flickr user Beyond Elements
"The sound of change would not be the harsh crack of a bullet, but the regal tap of an Irish dance shoe."
~The Dancer in the Painted Mask by Rod Vick

From the back cover:

No one can beat the Doppels. Science has seen to that.  

It's frustrating for fifteen-year-old Wynn Jameson to be a "norm" or "normal human" dancer in an age when Irish dancing is dominated by super clones. But when Wynn breaks the law to rescue a dying Doppel clone, her frustrating turns to shock as she unearths a thirty-year-old mystery that plunges her into a shadowy world of assassins, corporate conspiracy, unexpected friendship, and an impossible Irish dance legend that turns out to be true. A legend that will answer questions about her missing mother, and forever change irish dance. . . and the world. 

~2012 by Laikituk Creek Publishing

You don't have to be an Irish dancer to enjoy Rod Vick's latest novel. The Dancer in the Iron Mask is a thriller, with Irish dance set as the background of a story that explores a greater moral dilemma.

Wynn Jameson lives in a futuristic society where humans create clones of themselves to perform menial tasks, harvest organs for transplants, and participate in sports as avatars. The clones are said to have no feelings or emotion, a fact that Wynn believed until the day she sees one survive a malfunctioning "meltdown". Clones are not supposed to survive a meltdown, and are ritually terminated.  When Wynn sees emotion in the malfunctioning clone, she realizes that her discovery will effect more than the Irish dance community, it will change the way the world views Doppels forever.

Vick does an amazing job of creating suspense.  There were many times that my jaw dropped while reading. Every time I thought Wynn was about to wiggle her way out of trouble she would be thrown further into the fray. I found myself rushing through other tasks to get back to my reading.

The idea that our society could come to depend on clones in the future is interesting, and even plausible. Vick's story delves deep into the questions and problems that could come from such a future. Much of the beginning of the book is bogged down with world building, but once I learned how the world looked through Wynn's eyes, I was able to believe in the futuristic world Vick painted.

My favorite part of the book is when Wynn is forced to see things from the point of view of those who oppose her. The dilemma deepens the book, and will make you question your own ideas.

My only complaint is the cover. Don't let it scare you off, the story inside is captivating.

The Dancer in the Painted Mask will appeal to those who have already fallen in love with Irish dancing, as well as those who have never before heard of it. The book is especially suited for middle grade, and young adult readers.

Rod Vick, author of The Dancer in the Painted Mask
Photo: courtesy Rod Vick

Rod Vick is the author of Kaylee's Choice, and many other Irish dance novels. Vick's latest work, The Haunted Island Feis will be available soon. You can find purchasing information on Vick's website.

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Readers: Are you an adult Irish dancer, competitive or not, with a story to share? Would you like to inspire others to feel your passion for Irish dancing and culture? Do you have a question about Irish dancing? Please visit