From New York Times bestselling author Owen King comes a Dickensian fantasy of illusion and charm where cats are revered as religious figures, thieves are noble, scholars are revolutionaries, and conjurers are the most wonderful criminals you can imagine.
It begins in an unnamed city nicknamed “the Fairest”, it is distinguished by many things from the river fair to the mountains that split the municipality in half; its theaters and many museums; the Morgue Ship; and, like all cities, but maybe especially so, by its essential unmappability.
Dora, a former domestic servant at the university has a secret desire—to find where her brother went after he died, believing that the answer lies within The Museum of Psykical Research, where he worked when Dora was a child. With the city amidst a revolutionary upheaval, where citizens like Robert Barnes, her lover and a student radical, are now in positions of authority, Dora contrives to gain the curatorship of the half-forgotten museum only to find it all but burnt to the ground, with the neighboring museums oddly untouched. Robert offers her one of these, The National Museum of the Worker. However, neither this museum, nor the street it is hidden away on, nor Dora herself, are what they at first appear to be. Set against the backdrop of a nation on the verge of collapse, Dora’s search for the truth behind the mystery she’s long concealed will unravel a monstrous conspiracy and bring her to the edge of worlds.
Praise for Owen King:
“King writes with witty verve.” —Entertainment Weekly
“[Owen King] has a captivating energy, a precision and a fondness for people that are rare…King loves people as well as words.” —The New York Times
King (Double Feature) expands his 2014 short story of the same name with arresting results in this Victorian-esque fantasy that contains moments of both horror and humor. The offbeat tone is evident from the outset, as the novel's setting, a city nicknamed "the Fairest," is described as jutting "from the body of the country like a hangnail from a thumb." The Fairest is in turmoil following a popular revolt, sparked, in part, by the callous shooting of a businessman by a government minister. In the wake of the government's collapse, Dora, a former servant, seeks to understand the meaning of her beloved brother's cryptic last words before he'd died of cholera: "Yes. I see you. Your... face." To that end, she obtains a position in an occult research hub, The Museum of Psykical Research, with the aid of her lover, Robert Barnes, an officer in the rebels' civil defense force. Her increasingly desperate efforts to ascertain what her brother meant play out against the ongoing upheavals. King's creative worldbuilding is admirable and he makes even walk-on characters feel fully realized. Fans of Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell will be especially enchanted.