The plot meanders, with much extraneous description, towards a surprising denouement that seems to spark some revelation in the protagonist — though I’m not sure that it’s adequately conveyed. More annoyingly, it rests upon a character briefly seen at the beginning and then hardly mentioned again. The total effect is stylish enough and, since this is the beginning of a series, it may be that its aimless quality will be resolved if more details snap into place in later books.
there’s something stealthily intriguing about Thomson’s handling of the uncanny and the menacing, and his subtle but insistent examination of sexual politics. This most shape-shifting of writers has previously sent us to all manner of strange places — from a sinister 17th-century Florence (Secrecy), to the morgue housing Myra Hindley’s body (Death of a Murderer), to a dystopian Britain whose population is ruthlessly divided along the four medieval humours (Divided Kingdom).