The Extinction Gambit
The Extinction Gambit
Kingsley Ward is in dire trouble. Instead of thrilling the audience with his death-defying escapology, his first performance ends in disaster when his hidden wolfish nature bursts free. That same night, his father is abducted and his home ransacked. To find Dr Ward and redeem himself, Kingsley braves the Demimonde, the mysterious world that exists alongside our own. He is soon the target of two warring factions: immortal magicians whose diabolical plans will create mayhem at the 1908 Olympics, and the last Neanderthals, whose vengeance will wipe out humankind. Kingsley needs help. The famous author Rudyard Kipling will assist, but why is he so interested in Kingsley? Evadne Stephens, juggler and weaponsmith, is a Demimonde expert - but what does her mercurial nature conceal? Bizarre plots. Sinister magic. The extraordinary is about to happen.
by Holly Harper, Readings Carlton
If I was to tell you that there was a book that contained an escapologist raised by wolves, a beautiful albino juggler (who also happens to be a mechanical genius), ancient malevolent sorcerers who inhabit the bodies of children, and Neanderthals who exhibit no small measure of inventing prowess, you would probably say, ‘Where is this book, and can you give it to me now, please?’ I know that was my reaction – and the moment I had Michael Pryor’s remarkable The Extinction Gambit in my hands, I was lost in a world that contained all of the above and more.
Kingsley has a hard time keeping the wild part of himself in check – the side of him that is pure animal, that longs to drop to all-fours and hunt with the pack. But for a proper gentleman in 1908, this is hardly the correct behaviour, so he works hard to bury that side of himself. However, when he meets white-haired and pink-eyed Evadne, he has a harder time than usual remaining in control. Perhaps it’s because she has introduced him to a world he never knew existed: that of the Demimonde, a place of magic, darkness and danger that exists alongside the mundane world. After his father is kidnapped, Kingsley must delve into this strange new world in order to get him back.
This is a tale of many threads woven skilfully into one amazing saga. Pryor’s first entry in The Extraordinaires series is world-building at its finest, and once you’ve settled into the world of the Demimonde, you’ll find you have a hard time dragging yourself away.
Holly Harper is from Readings Carlton
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