Maybe you haven’t heard of it—maybe you weren’t born yet; maybe you’re based elsewhere—but in Great Britain, the summer of 1976 went down in history. It was the hottest single season since records began some 400 years ago, and people in these parts weren’t prepared. There were droughts. Deaths.
It was an indescribably violent time, all told. Hate crimes were a daily affair many commentators attributed to the incredible temperatures. “What a world to bring a child into,” as our couple comments on the first page of F. R. Tallis’ haunting new novel, The Voices. But that’s exactly what Christopher and Laura Norton plan to do. Indeed, on the day they decide to spend their once-substantial savings on “a substantial Victorian edifice [...] concealed in a pocket of London’s complex topography,” their infant daughter is born. They name her Faye, meaning belief—which, though they have in her, they lack, alas, in one another.
A year later, the Nortons have settled into their new property nicely, but things between Faye’s parents have gone to pot in short order, and a terror more malignant than the recent uptick in temperature is about to make its malevolent presence felt.