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Publisher's Summary

Once the toast of good society in Victoria's England, the extraordinary conjurer Edward Moon no longer commands the respect that he did in earlier times. Still, each night he returns to the stage of his theater to amaze his devoted, albeit dwindling, audience, aided by his partner, the Somnambulist - a silent, hairless, hulking giant who, when stabbed, does not bleed. But these are strange, strange times in England, with the oddest of sorts prowling London's dank underbelly. And the very bizarre death of a disreputable actor has compelled a baffled police constabulary to turn once again to Edward Moon for help - inevitably setting in motion events that will shatter his increasingly tenuous grasp on reality.
©2007 Jonathan Barnes (P)2009 Recorded Books, LLC

Critic Reviews

"[A] cheeky tale ... salvaged from the sensationalist novels of the past three centuries." ( New York Times)
"This superb debut from British author Barnes raises the bar for historical thrillers." ( Publishers Weekly)
"[B]rilliant...Barnes crafts one of the finest first novels of the young century...Truly surprising plot twists and red herrings abound." ( Austin Chronicle)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

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Performance

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Story

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Sort by:
  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

Disturbing ending

I thoroughly enjoyed the entire book with the exception of last two chapters. Excellent writing. Excellent narration. Intriguing story. Disappointing ending. Egregious violence that completely did not fit with the rest of the book.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Fun Writing - Story only Okay

Stylistically speaking, this was fantastic. The story was just kinda slow and random. I didn't feel like the protagonist was clear and I felt like the title character was an unexplained extra.

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Too Contrived and Too Quirky

The author seemed to place quirkiness above all else in writing this book. Many characters (including the titular Somnabulist) seemed to be in the book for no reason other than to add eccentricity. That can be OK, but it was entirely overplayed in this book - it was a kitchen sink approach to quirkiness.
On top of that. characters seemed to do things and events happened for no reason other than to further the plot (well, what plat there was).
All in all, I thought it was a pretty bad book. If I'd been reading it, I never would have come close to finishing it - I would have thrown it away in exasperation. I think the only reason I actually finished it was because the narrator was enjoyable.

1 of 3 people found this review helpful