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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.
'The Ringmaster had been through this routine many times before, seeing his troupe nervously waiting around him, bursting to get onto the stage, hungry for an audience, hearts beating fast, blood rushing through their quivering, rubber-like bodies. And yet, every time, his heart swelled with pride and happiness, at his little band of travellers, all bonded by the same insatiable, overwhelming, seductive desire: the desire to entertain.
...Alain nodded to Fenton and the dwarf opened the velvet dividers that separated two very different worlds. Blinded by the dazzling lights, surrounded by applause, Alain du Maurier stepped forward and began the show in his rich seductive tones. "Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to Cirque du Phantastique."'
The show is a success and the next day Cirque du Phantastique leave their manor in Varatale to embark on their annual tour; a tour which takes them through ten very different worlds. As they travel from city to city, however, it becomes clear that this tour will be quite different from previous years and will test the strength of each troupe member as well as their relationships with each other. Battling everything from an Australian heatwave to a tyrant in a frozen world, the perils that come with being labelled an outcast, and ultimately a colourless monster, who forces them into a multi-universal game of cat and mouse, Alain du Maurier and his loveable band of misfits must fight to save themselves and the lives of those around them, all while continuing to entertain their loyal audiences.
For the show must always go on.
Publication date: 30/03/2018
Publisher: The Light Network
|Publication date:||30th March 2018|
|Author:||Claire Marie Clements|
|Publisher:||The Light Network|
|Categories:||Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945), Fantasy,|