John Carter from Mars meets Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell in Felix Gilman’s boisterous new novel, in which a man of fact finds himself face to face with the stuff of fantasy.
The tale takes place in London in the late 1800s: a dark and dirty and dangerous place. Jack the Ripper has finished his grisly business, though the murders attributed to this almost mythical figure remain in recent memory, so when the Great Storm strikes, some see it as the world’s way of cleansing the city of its sins.
Other individuals, thinking this wishful, seek escape via more mystical means—among them the members of the Ordo V.V. 341, which fashionable fraternity Arthur Shaw attends at the outset of The Revolutions, with the apple of his eye, Josephine Bradman, on his arm. A science writer for the Monthly Mammoth, recently made redundant, he has precious little interest in spiritualism, however it’s her bread and butter, as a typist and translator specialising in the supernatural.