Servant of the Secret Fire

Random thoughts on books and life in the reality-based community

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Location: New York, United States

The name I've chosen comes from "Lord of the Rings," when Gandalf faces down the Balrog in the Mines of Moria. My Hebrew name is Esther (which is related to the word for "hidden" or "secret") Serafina (which means "burning"). This seems appropriate because although I don't usually put myself forward, I do care very passionately about a lot of things. Maybe through these blogs I can share some of these passions, as well as less weighty ideas and opinions, with others.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Book Review: A Dark Dividing

A Dark Dividing by Sarah Rayne *****

What are the connections between two sets of conjoined ("Siamese") twins born eighty years apart and a ramshackle onetime workhouse named Mortmain (Dead [Man's} Hand)? These are the questions that down-and-out reporter Harry McGlen ends up answering after his editor assigns him to do a story on the enigmatic photographer Simone Marriot (née Alexander).

In this elegant and atmospheric thriller, Sarah Rayne shifts effortlessly among multiple viewpoints (the mothers of both sets of twins, Harry, and Simone, among others) without ever losing the thread of her complicated story, and keeps the reader turning the pages until the satisfying ending, which is the most difficult trick of all, since I find that books that start out with promising premises such as this one often fall flat at the end.

If you enjoy this book I would also recommend Thomas Cook and Robbert Goddard, who write a similar type of fiction – suspense tinged with a nostalgic sadness and often with an all too natural (as opposed to supernatural) horror.

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