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.