I had a fab time putting together the Cosmo summer reads list this year – it was great to be able to mix different genres and throw in a couple of wild cards. My one regret was that I spent so much time justifying this book as ‘accessible fantasy’ that I didn’t have enough words to describe how wonderful it is. I even called it a ‘caper’ which, although there were moments of high adventure, was a bit of a misnomer really. There’s so much more going on than that.
This is the story of Thaniel, a lowly Victorian civil servant who narrowly escapes an Irish Republican bomb by what seems to him like a stroke of luck. This leads him to the workshop of Keita Mori, Japanese exile, genius watchmaker and prescient.
Imagine meeting a person who remembers the future and can arrange your life to get the result he wants, lining up coincidences like a human domino run? To Thaniel Mori’s world is fascinating but his new friend Grace is profoundly disturbed. Is Mori a kindly man sorting things out for the best or a manipulative monster whose actions have robbed an innocent man of his free will?
You find yourself asking questions about love, trust and surrender
Woven through the action is an intriguing glimpse of 19th Century Japan, a race to find the mysterious bomber and a touching, unexpected love story. You find yourself asking questions about love, trust and surrender, making up your mind about a few things – then changing it again, several times in the course of a chapter.
It’s definitely a book that keeps you on your toes.
The Watchmaker of Filigree Street is out now.