Titan Books are at the top of their game when it comes to crime mystery / historical fantasy tales and this new series from debut novelist Mark A. Latham is a stunning addition to that mixed genre of books.
In London 1890, Captain John Hardwick has returned home from war after being held captive in Burma. The last thing he expects is to be recruited by a clandestine gentleman’s club to investigate a spate of anarchist bombings across the capital. He agrees, but what he uncovers is not merely a case of terrorism, but a supernatural threat of epic proportions to the British Empire.
Plunged into a dangerous underworld of espionage, psychic powers and a secret war with an alternate universe, John must decide who to trust and who to fight in a treacherous battle for the world.
His paths cross with a series of interesting characters, including an Artist whose pictures show the future, a band of gypsies (some of whom are more than they seem) and some diverse members of the mysterious Apollonian Club. John is quite a serious man and quite a stickler for the rules; even in the face of such peril, he is ever the gentleman and is several times heralded as the most honest man in London. I don’t think some of those traits always work in his favour but you cannot fault him for being a hero.
The way that psychic abilities; visions and omens of fate, were introduced into the storyline were clever and played a great role in the overall storyline. With all the facets of this book; history, crime, fantasy, there was even a horror element added in with the inclusion of monsters from another realm which makes the tale even more exciting.
There are a lot of characters and a lot of information thrown at you but with so much action the story keeps you engaged, so it is worth the extra concentration. There is plenty of misdirection and mystery that really captivates the reader and I especially liked the ending – I only hope that it is not too long until the next book!
There is so much potential with this series and I really cannot wait to see what is in store for Captain John Hardwick and the fated city of London. Fantastically detailed, imaginative and genuinely exciting in parts, The Lazarus Gate is sure to be a crossover hit for fantasy, hist-fic and crime readers.