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It’s been years since I read The Weirdstone of Brisingamen and The Moon of Gomrath so I wasn’t sure how I’d get on with this, as my memories of the first two books are more than hazy. But surprisingly I found that you don’t need to have read them at all in order to enjoy this sequel. Colin is now a grown-up, an astrophysicist working in an observatory in Alderley Edge; looking forever for his lost sister amongst the stars, and invoking the spirits of the land to keep the world turning. Is he crazy, or is he the only one who can see clearly? You can read this as an exploration of madness, a pagan poem, as science fiction, or all three; Garner’s prose is exquisite with not a word wasted, and this is a story with many levels and many interpretations. Colin is fascinating and sympathetic in his mania, and slowly elements of the story coalesce to prove him right. Magic and science co-exist in Garner’s world, and he expresses that world beautifully. I read this each morning as I waited for my commuter train, and the mundane world did seem just that little bit more magical, more mysterious, each day, looking through Colin’s eyes. Rating: ***

Fourth Estate, 2012, ISBN 9780007463244

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