Descripción de editorial
The Erstwhile brings readers back to the singular world and mind of B. Catling, continuing the groundbreaking storytelling of his hit The Vorrh.
In London and Germany, strange beings are reanimating themselves. They are the Erstwhile, the angels that failed to protect the Tree of Knowledge, and their reawakening will have major consequences. In Africa, the colonial town of Essenwald has fallen into disarray because the timber workforce has disappeared into the Vorrh. Now a team of specialists are dispatched to find them. Led by Ishmael, the former cyclops, they enter the forest, but the Vorrh will not give them back so easily. To make matters worse, an ancient guardian of the forest has plans for Ishmael and his crew. Meanwhile a child of mixed race has been found abandoned in a remote cottage. Her origins are unknown, but she has powers beyond her own understanding. Conflict is coming, as the old and new, human and inhuman are set on a collision course. Once again blending the real and the imagined, The Erstwhile brings historical figures such as William Blake and places such as the Bedlam Asylum, as well as ingenious creations such as The Kin (a family of robots) together to create unforgettable novel of births and burials, excavations and disappearances.
The middle volume in Catling's alternate history trilogy (after 2015's The Vorrh) successfully expands on the interesting premise of its predecessor: somewhere in Africa, there exists an enigmatic forest known as the Vorrh, "which was ancient before Adam was a supposed twinkle in God's eye." The Vorrh is inhabited by legendary creatures with goals opposed to those of humankind, setting up the potential for conflict with far-reaching consequences. In the 1920s, a priest learns of such a threat when a colleague alerts him to the Erstwhile, "deformed and degenerate remnants of the celestial beings" who had been created to protect the Tree of Knowledge. Upon their failure, they were forgotten by their creator, but they are now beginning to emerge from the Vorrh. Meanwhile, a cyclops named Ishmael, who had left the Vorrh to dwell among humans, comes across reports of the Erstwhile while researching his own mysterious origins, and he sets out on a path that leads him back to the forest. This imaginative and original work of fantasy will leave readers hungry for the series conclusion.