SCI-FI & FANTASY
A MARVELLOUS LIGHT by Freya Marske (Tor £16.99, 384 pp)
A MARVELLOUS LIGHT
by Freya Marske (Tor £16.99, 384 pp)
In this beautifully rendered Edwardian world, magic is the preserve of a few ancient British families.
It’s all very discreet, and alarm bells barely ring when the civil servant in charge of hushing things up disappears. Up steps Sir Robert Blyth, charming, given to biffing and very unmagical. What follows is a love story, a mystery and a whodunnit of infinite charm, quite ghastly peril and stealthily building excitement.
But it’s not just posh house-party games, supernaturally enhanced thugs and a suffragette sister that Robert has to deal with — there’s the uptight, damaged Edwin Courcey, who leads him into the equally perilous worlds of magic and love. An enchanting, gripping and dazzling debut.
THE ANOMALY by Hervé Le Tellier (Michael Joseph £12.99, 336 pp)
by Hervé Le Tellier (Michael Joseph £12.99, 336 pp)
A Paris to New York flight survives a massive storm and manages to land, but three months have somehow passed. And here’s the thing: the very same flight landed three months earlier, so now there are two identical versions of everyone on board. As existential crises go, c’est un vrai humdinger.
By focusing on the human angle, Le Tellier keeps the narrative brisk and involving. Passengers include a hitman with multiple identities, a little girl suffering from abuse, and a lover doomed to scare away his partner through the intensity of his passion.
The buzz around this Goncourt prize-winner is richly deserved, and just when you think you’ve worked it out . . . well, you probably haven’t.
ALL THE WHITE SPACES by Ally Wilkes (Titan Books £8.99, 384 pp)
ALL THE WHITE SPACES
by Ally Wilkes (Titan Books £8.99, 384 pp)
When young Jo loses both brothers in World War I, the best way to honour them is to live out their dreams of polar exploration. Stowing away on ‘Australis’ Randall’s polar expedition, Jo swaps frocks for thermals and becomes Jonathan — an expendable cabin boy on an adventure to the ends of the Earth.
The crew is ready for extreme cold and exhaustion, but not the extreme terror that awaits when they are forced to overwinter in the abandoned huts of a lost German expedition. Facing frostbite and gangrene, sabotage and shellshock, it’s the demons inside and out that Jo must confront. As relentless as a glacier, this brilliant debut closes in and grips like the ice-sheet itself.
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