‘Ladies and gentlemen, the darkness is complete.’
It is the winter of 1893, and in London the snow is falling.
It is falling as Gideon Bliss seeks shelter in a Soho church, where he finds Angie Tatton lying before the altar. His one-time love is at death’s door, murmuring about brightness and black air, and about those she calls the Spiriters. In the morning she is gone.
The snow is falling as a seamstress climbs onto a ledge above Mayfair, a mysterious message stitched into her own skin. It is falling as she steadies herself and closes her eyes.
It is falling, too, as her employer, Lord Strythe, vanishes into the night, watched by Octavia Hillingdon, a restless society columnist who longs to uncover a story of real importance.
She and Gideon will soon be drawn into the same mystery, each desperate to save Angie and find out the truth about Lord Strythe. Their paths will cross as the darkness gathers, and will lead them at last to what lies hidden at the house on Vesper Sands.
I’m on a right reading roll at the moment and nothing has captured my imagination quite as much as The House On Vesper Sands.
Brilliantly immersive, descriptively pitch perfect with a hugely dynamic set of characters, this is one of those books you devour in short order, living it all the way. The era is captured in reading surround sound and the story itself is completely compelling…dark as you like and twice as delicious.
The characters you’ll meet within the pages are all, every one of them, convincingly portrayed and genuinely engaging -the dialogue is snappy and often laugh out loud funny which offsets the dastardly nature of the story unfolding to wonderful effect.
I have to shout out to the dynamic duo of Gabe and, perhaps my favourite character in fiction for years, the indomitable Inspector Cutter. Also to Octavia, a woman ahead of her time, plus her oft frowned upon bicycle.
I’m not giving anything else away though apart from saying that the emotional trauma of the finale almost undid me- luckily here I still am to tell you not to miss this one if you can possibly help it.
An absolute joy to read. This is what it’s all about.