A uniquely dark and elegant tale that illuminates the loneliness of childhood, the pain of loss and the power of imagination. It will charm and haunt its readers in equal measure. Eleven-year-old Mark is bored. He spends his days on the Brighton sea-front, practicing on his skate-board. His mother is too ill to leave the house, and his stepfather is determined that Mark shouldn't disturb her. So when the old lady who lives in the flat downstairs introduces him to rock cakes and offers to show him a secret, he's happy to indulge her. The old lady takes a large, old-fashioned key and leads Mark down a dusty corridor to a heavy door. Beyond the door is a world completely alien to Mark's understanding. For behind the old lady's tiny apartment, the house's original servants' quarters are still entirely intact, although derelict. Mark finds himself strangely drawn to this window onto the past, and when, the next time he visits, the old lady falls asleep, he steals the key and goes to visit the servants' quarters alone. And suddenly Mark's life takes a bizarre turn, as the past seems to collide with the present, dreams invade reality and truths become apparent to this hitherto unperceiving boy. Lead title / A beautifully observed and quirky tale for lovers of offbeat fiction such as The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time / M.M. Smith is also known as Michael Marshall, author of the internationally bestselling novels The Straw Men, The Lonely Dead and Blood of Angels / Publicity to include reviews in national press / Competition: Mark Haddon, Yann Martel
M M Smith is also know as Michael Marshall, author of the internationally bestselling novels 'The Straw Men', The Lonely Dead' and 'Blood of Angels'. Before that, he had already established a successful career under the name Michael Marshall Smith: his groundbreaking first novel, 'Only Forward', won the Philip K. Dick and August Derleth Awards, and its critically acclaimed successors 'Spares' and 'One of Us' have been optioned by major Hollywoood studios. He lives in North London with his wife, son and two cats.
At the start of Smith's superb, offbeat contemporary fantasy, 11-year-old Mark has moved to Brighton, a decaying English resort town, with his sickly mother and her new husband, David. Mark hates David, hates his parents' divorce and hates Brighton, where he has no friends and little to do. Then the old lady who lives in the tiny apartment beneath David's recently purchased townhouse takes him on a tour of the old servants' quarters. When Mark sneaks into the quarters on his own, he begins to see the long-dead servants at their jobs and realizes that something is seriously wrong. As this secret downstairs world becomes more and more disordered, Mark discovers that its problems are somehow related to his mother's advancing illness. If he can help the servants, he may just be able to save her life. IHG Award-winner Smith (Spares) portrays a child's irrational anger with devastating accuracy, and Mark's visits to the surreal and intensely symbolic world of the servants are powerfully depicted. (July) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.
'Superb, offbeat contemporary fantasy ! Smith portrays a child's irrational anger with devastating accuracy, and Mark's visits to the surreal and intensely symbolic world of the servants are powerfully depicted' Publishers Weekly, starred review