My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I’ve been a big Tim Powers fan for many years now.
I adore the way he attacks a plot with exuberance and bravado. In this one we’re tossed into the lives of the Rossetti family, a veterinarian, a prostitute and an adventurer in Dickensian London all plagued by a family blood curse that has come back to claim its own. It’s also a sequel to an earlier work, but you don’t need to know that to enjoy this one on its own merits.
19th Century London is a locale Powers has detailed before of course, in THE ANUBIS GATES in particular. HIDE isn’t quite in that league of baroque brilliance – then again, what is? – but it’s a glorious, almost breathless romp that throws snatches of poetry and music hall at you, draws in legends of London from the Roman era onward, dances in the bars and descends into the sewers and caverns beneath the Old Lady to meet the denizens, natural and supernatural who live there.
It’s all driven along by Powers’ at times poetic language and feel for a story. You’ll find death, romance, seances, exorcisms, high magic in Highgate Cemetery, ghosts by the Thames and derring-do in Cheyne Walk.
It’s a fine addition to Powers’ catalog.
Reading him always makes me feel like a rank amateur in my own writing – but it also makes me want to strive to do better, so I’m off to try.