Darker than dark but tonally lighter than light, this is a keeper and a bolt from nowhere, almost like an adult version of the Harry Potter books with a touch of Dickensian dystopia. Set in a Victorian England that never was, in which a person's evil thoughts and intentions manifest themselves through the black, heavy smoke that emanates from their body, this follows the discoveries and personal odysseys of a group of boarding school lodgers whose connection to the mystery of smoke is highly personal as they set on a quest to elucidate its origins and the web of conspiracies that surround the way the whole country is influenced by it. Evocative, a vision of a pre-industrialised Britain both pastoral and ominous, a London teeming with sin and horror, and a set of characters you keep cheering on in spite of their foibles and impetuosity, this is an old-fashioned book in the best way and a sheer delight. It will also scare the pants off of you in the process and have you averting your eyes even when you are dying to know what comes next and get an answer to all your questions (which you will by the end...). ~ Maxim Jakubowski
Maxim Jakubowski's September 2016 Book of the Month.
The laws of Smoke are complex. Not every lie will trigger it. A fleeting thought of evil may pass unseen. Next thing you know its smell is in your nose. There is no more hateful smell in the world than the smell of Smoke...' Smoke opens in a private boarding school near Oxford, but history has not followed the path known to us. In this other past, sin appears as smoke on the body and soot on the clothes. Children are born carrying the seeds of evil within them. The ruling elite have learned to control their desires and contain their sin. They are spotless. It is within the closeted world of this school that the sons of the wealthy and well-connected are trained as future leaders. Among their number are two boys, Thomas and Charlie. On a trip to London, a forbidden city shrouded in smoke and darkness, the boys will witness an event that will make them question everything they have been told about the past. For there is more to the world of smoke, soot and ash than meets the eye and there are those who will stop at nothing to protect it ...
'for once both comparisons (with Harry Potter and Philip Pullman's Northern Lights) are apt. this is a novel that stays in the imagination long after it has been read' THE GUARDIAN
'mesmerising and imaginative. Smoke is at once profound, moving and timely: a novel that tackles the most fundamental question of good versus evil. -- Hannah Beckerman' THE OBSERVER
'Astonishing ... it's filling in that gaping hole left by both Harry Potter and Philip Pullman's Northern Lights. Yes, really' Stylist
'Its subtle touches mean the story takes on a world of its own. you'll wonder why no one has seen smoke this way before.' EMERALD STREET
Publication date: 07/07/2016
Publisher: Weidenfeld & Nicolson an imprint of Orion Publishing Co
|Publication date:||7th July 2016|
|Publisher:||Weidenfeld & Nicolson an imprint of Orion Publishing Co|
|Genres:||eBook Favourites, Fantasy,|
|Categories:||Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945),|
Dan Vyleta is the son of Czech refugees who emigrated to Germany in the late 1960s. After growing up in Germany, he left to attend university in the UK where he completed a PhD in History at King's College, Cambridge. His debut novel, Pavel & I, gathered immediate international acclaim and was translated into eight languages. His second novel, The Quiet Twin, was shortlisted for the Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize, and his third, The Crooked Maid, was a finalist for the Scotiabank Giller Prize and won the J.I Segal Award. He lives in Stratford-upon-Avon.More About Dan Vyleta