Monday 11 February 2008

the circus comes to town

The Equivoque Principle
by Darren Craske

equivoque: n. An expression or term liable to more than one interpretation

When Dr Marvello's Travelling Circus comes to the 'dingy dockland borough of Crawditch', their leader and master conjuror Cornelius Quaint has no idea what lies in store for them. Even the fortune teller Madame Destine is not seeing things clearly, but when the circus strongman Prometheus is arrested for murder the whole troupe will become involved in clearing his name. What Quaint will discover is not simply the answer to the grisly murder but a complex plot involving some ghosts from his own past. Set in Victorian London and featuring a cast of colourful characters this is a good well-paced romp which reminded me of the Lucifer Box novels of Mark Gattis. Whilst Quaint may not have the charm and humour of Box this is a darker more personal storyline which keeps you interested throughout as it grows in complexity. As you might expect from a magician there is plenty of misdirection along the way and as Quaint himself says, 'the real magic is never letting your audience know they're being tricked until he last minute'. With the next book in the series due next year taking Quaint away from the circus and off to Egypt this could be a genre-bending series to run and run.


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