Next to the colonial town of Essenwald sits the Vorrh, a vast--perhaps endless--forest. Read more...
Next to the colonial town of Essenwald sits the Vorrh, a vast--perhaps endless--forest. It is a place of demons and angels, of warriors and priests. Sentient and magical, the Vorrh bends time and wipes memory. Legend has it that the Garden of Eden still exists at its heart. Now, a renegade English soldier aims to be the first human to traverse its expanse. Armed with only a strange bow, he begins his journey, but some fear the consequences of his mission, and a native marksman has been chosen to stop him. Around them swirl a remarkable cast of characters, including a Cyclops raised by robots and a young girl with tragic curiosity, as well as historical figures, such as writer Raymond Roussel and photographer and Edward Muybridge. While fact and fictional blend, and the hunter will become the hunted, and everyone's fate hangs in the balance, under the will of the Vorrh.
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2015-02-09
- Reviewer: Staff
Catling’s richly textured and enigmatic fantasy trilogy opener (first published in the U.K. in 2012) is centered on a legendary African forest, known as the Vorrh, that’s rumored to be “older than humankind.” As no person has returned from attempting to reach its center, “nothing was known of its interior, except myth and fear.” According to some, the Vorrh is populated by cannibals and monsters, while others believe that “God walks there” in “his garden on Earth.” Against this mid-19th-century backdrop, reminiscent of Robert Holdstock’s Mythago Wood, Catling weaves an intricate story with a diverse cast of characters. They include Eadweard Muybridge, a real-life photographer best known for proving that all four legs of a running horse leave the ground while the animal is in motion, and Ishmael, a cyclops raised by automatons. It’s not easy to keep all the plots and subplots straight, but even those who struggle to navigate the labyrinth will still find the twisted journey thought provoking, full of memorable imagery and language. (May)