Review No.205 – The Dark Volume

The Dark Volume – G.W. Dahlquist (Miss Temple, Cardinal Chang and Doctor Svenson No.2)

Viking Books, 2008

After confounding an extraordinary conspiracy and shooting her former fiance dead in a sinking airship, Miss Celeste Temple wakes up from a fever to find herself on a barren coast far from home, her two allies having disappeared during the course of her illness. Escaping the increasingly hostile village after a series of savage deaths that seem like no wolf attacks she has ever known, Miss Temple makes her way back towards the city. But what life awaits her now, after everything she’s done? What has happened to Cardinal Chang and Doctor Svenson? And can any member of the sinister Cabal be trusted with something as straightforward as dying…

This sequel to Dahlquist’s debut The Glass Books of the Dream Eaters is as skilfully written and intricately plotted as the first book, with a beautifully clear but lyrical style and a cast of nuanced, entirely unpredictable characters. Dahlquist respects the period in which his story is set and no element of the story is jarringly modern, but it’s a thoughtful and incisive take that does particularly well by its women. The series concludes with The Chemickal Marriage.

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