The Library exists in a shadowy place where alternate worlds
Librarians are agents for the
Library who travel to various alternates by way of portals, in order to collect
important works of literature.
works must be collected because they can strengthen the bridge between the
Library and the world in question.
works seem vital to the world itself.
And some are collected simply because they differ in some aspect from
the other, original, or known versions of the text.
Irene is a Librarian.
She travels to various alternates to collect various books.
Sometimes, she can simply walk into a book
shop and purchase a copy, then return home.
Other times, the original must be obtained.
More intricate scenarios require undercover
identities, longer time windows, and specific, possibly-illegal talents.
She’ll be travelling with Kai, a trainee who
was recruited from his home world, in part because of some youthful – if shady
This is her first time functioning
as a mentor, and she wonders why a trainee is being included in a job that
will, no doubt, require some finesse.
Irene notes that the alternate world contains a good deal of
technology, and a bit of magic.
also infected by chaos; meaning that the natural laws of the world do not
exclude the presence of the supernatural.
On the surface, however, it appears to be Victorian-era London.
The assignment is to obtain the original manuscript
of an edition of Grimm.
The volume in
question is apparently in the safe of the owner.
The owner, a vampire, was recently
In addition, there are Fae
agents interested in this volume, for reasons unknown.
All of the above complicates things, of
As does the fact that, once
Irene gets to the safe, she finds that the book has been stolen by an infamous
female cat burglar.
This book is one of those rare things: a story that you’d
like to live in, or at least visit for a very long time.
The characters, good and bad and in between,
are all drawn very well; they have histories and motives that cause them to
act/react the way they do.
here is tremendous.
The descriptions of
places and people and the very atmosphere are so evocative that I could very
easily picture The British Museum, draped in fog, with zeppelins tethered to
Everything works the way it
does for a reason, including the things that are infected with chaos.
The plot is multi-layered and almost more
than one book can safely contain.
Each new layer builds
nicely onto the next, expanding the scope of the story.
The story really begins firing on all cylinders when Irene and Kai meet
Peregrine Vale, Earl of Leeds.
an eccentric but very famous detective about London.
His name – his mere presence - can open doors
for Irene and Kai that might otherwise be firmly closed.
He knows everyone who is anyone, and many
people who are not.
This is not to say
that Irene needs too much help.
quite competent and resourceful; capable of keeping her head when things go
Kai, too, seems oddly
competent, and Irene begins to suspect that there might be more to him than
meets the eye.
The story is really a joy
from beginning to end.
If you love
fantasy, detectives, thrillers, and books… you have found a home here.
Rating: 9 ½
ISBN# 978-1-101-98864-0 (trade paperback)