Release Date: 16/09/10
London, 1893. Mild-mannered watchmaker Cyril King harbours a secret wish to be an explorer. When he acquires a mysterious timepiece from a notorious criminal, Cyril gets his heart's desire, the clues he finds propelling him halfway around the world on the trail of a fabulous treasure. On the borders of India and Afghanistan, Cyril meets a real-life adventurer who seems to be everything he aspires to. But high in the Karakoram mountains there are lessons to be learned, as nothing is quite what Cyril expects: neither the treasure, nor his companion, nor the life of discovery and excitement which he imagined -- and certainly not the deadly peril into which he stumbles with all the insouciance of the innocent abroad. Meanwhile, intercut with Cyril's account of his 1893 adventures are the letters of famous explorer Sir Paul Linley-Small, written to Cyril from various points of the compass fifteen years later, as Small pursues a rare, perhaps mythical, creature. And as Small's tale grows ever more fantastic, the way in which the two narratives link with one another reflects on the nature of truth and the lives which we envisage for ourselves.
Fiction is a tricky beast to negotiate with, so at times you’re pretty much left out in the open hoping that they prey that you seek will appear for the final trap. Bruno’s debut is perhaps an unusual enough beast as it not only crosses between young adult titles as well as adult but brings a number of influences to the fore within. For example if you want a touch of Kipling writing (I personally see quite a bit of The Man who would be King” here,) a good dollop of Haggard (King Solomon’s Mines) then you’re pretty much in luck.
Add to this solid prose and an almost Victorian authors voice to the overall arc and it’s an historical fiction title that will more than please a number of readers. Definitely an author to watch and if you’re looking for something special for that HF fan in your life then this could be a pretty good bet and a title to obtain this holiday period.