Elizabeth Knox‘s The Absolute Book generated quite a bit of positive buzz when the publisher(s) sent out the advance review copies. It kept popping up in my Twitter feed, typically accompanied with a positive review or response. Now that we’re getting closer to its publication, I thought it was time to write a quick post about it. Pitched as a contemporary fantasy that is a “spellbinding mix of Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, American Gods and His Dark Materials” (quite an interesting mix), here’s the synopsis:
Taryn Cornick believes that the past — her sister’s violent death, and her own ill-conceived revenge — is behind her, and she can get on with her life. She has written a successful book about the things that threaten libraries: insects, damp, light, fire, carelessness and uncaring… but not all of the attention it brings her is good.
A policeman, Jacob Berger, questions her about a cold case. Then there are questions about a fire in the library at her grandparents’ house and an ancient scroll box known as the Firestarter, as well as threatening phone calls and a mysterious illness. Finally a shadowy young man named Shift appears, forcing Taryn and Jacob toward a reckoning felt in more than one world.
The Absolute Book is epic, action-packed fantasy in which hidden treasures are recovered, wicked things resurface, birds can talk, and dead sisters are a living force. It is a book of journeys and returns, from contemporary England to Auckland, New Zealand; from a magical fairyland to Purgatory. Above all, it is a declaration of love for stories and the ways in which they shape our worlds and create gods out of mortals.
Elizabeth Knox’s The Absolute Book is due to be published by Viking Books in North America (February 9th) and Michael Joseph in the UK (March 18th).