For the last twenty years Sir James Monmouth has been a gentleman adventurer, journeying all over the globe in the footsteps of his hero, the great pioneering traveller Conrad Vane. One rainy winter night, Sir James returns to London. Orphaned at five, it is now time to find out more about his family and origins, and also to learn about the early ...Read MoreFor the last twenty years Sir James Monmouth has been a gentleman adventurer, journeying all over the globe in the footsteps of his hero, the great pioneering traveller Conrad Vane. One rainy winter night, Sir James returns to London. Orphaned at five, it is now time to find out more about his family and origins, and also to learn about the early years of Conrad Vane. But at every turn James is warned off his investigation into Conrad Vane. Do these warnings explain his flashes of intense fear and feelings of being watched? And what of the boy who has started haunting his every step and the mysterious mirror with its inexplicable reflections? Eventually, Sir James' quest leads him to the old lady of Kittiscar Hall, and deep into a past that binds him to his hero in ways he never could have imagined.Read Less
Publishers Weekly, 2013-12-02 Hill, as the author of 1983's The Woman in Black, since adapted to both stage and screen, is no stranger to gothic novels. In this Victorian-set ghost story, narrator James Monmouth returns to London after years spent in the Far East retracing the steps of his hero, the late travel writer Conrad Vane. Weary from his journeys, Monmouth is eager to write Vane's history and also explore his own family background. He becomes increasingly frustrated, though, when his questions about his idol are met only with pleas to abandon the project. Hill's secondary characters are mostly developed in broad strokes-a sinister bookseller in a dusty emporium, a stern and imposing headmaster. As Monmouth's health steadily worsens, two familiar gothic tropes take hold: his inexplicable terror at regular intervals and the frequent appearance of a ghost (in this case, a boy in rags standing at a distance, regarding Monmouth mournfully). Hill creates a spooky atmosphere for her tale ("Rain, rain all day, all evening, all night, pouring autumn rain"), which climaxes in a deserted mansion on a Scottish moor. But in place of a final terrifying revelation, Hill leaves Monmouth, and her readers, dissatisfied-haunted, even-by too many unanswered questions. Agent: Anne Borchardt, George Borchardt Literary Agency. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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