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A charismatic ringmaster leads a heady circus-set quest. This mélange of magic and fantasy with real-world references sees Alain du Maurier, enigmatic ringmaster of the spectacular Cirque De Phantastique, take his troupe on an annual tour to various cities in ten very different worlds, with a large cast of colourful characters presented at different points in time. While this technique allows the author to build deeper backstory, the plot would benefit from less frequent flipping from the present day to various times in the past (this has a somewhat disorienting effect). Overall, the world building is kaleidoscopic, with circus vibrancy strongly evoked throughout, and a swelling sense of urgency as the troupe encounters monstrous perils and enemies. Joanne Owen