Author: Charlie Fletcher, 2014.
Genre: Historical Fantasy. Victorian England. Folklore.
Other Details: Hardback. 448 pages.
Only five still guard the borders between the worlds. Only five hold back what waits on the other side.
Once the Oversight, the secret society that polices the lines between the mundane and the magic, counted hundreds of brave souls among its members. Now their number can be tallied on a single hand. When a drunkard brings a screaming girl to the Oversight's London headquarters, it seems their hopes for a new recruit will be fulfilled - but the girl is a trap, her appearance a puzzle the five remaining guardians must solve or lose each other, and their society, for good.
As the borders between the natural and the supernatural begin to break down, brutal murders erupt across the city, the Oversight are torn viciously apart, and their enemies close in for the final blow. This dark Dickensian fantasy spins a tale of witch-hunters, magicians, mirror-walkers and the unlikeliest of heroes drawn from the depths of British folklore. - synopsis from author's website.
This proved to be a wonderful fantasy set in Victorian England. It reminded me a little of Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell in its atmosphere and vivid sense of place. I knew almost from the start that I was going to love it and returned the library copy and bought my own. The characters are very memorable and Fletcher skilfully blends historical figures with fictional ones. It came as a delightful surprise that the Great Wizards of the North and South did actually exist. He also draws upon British folklore and legend. Each of his settings: London, the countryside and the circus were well realised.
Given that this is a trilogy it is hard to comment too much on story although this was a strong start and I've pre-ordered the second in the trilogy due next summer.