Voice of Our Shadow follows Joe Lennox, who writes one good short story, makes a lot of money on selling the rights to the play and moves to Vienna to escape the memory of a haunting family tragedy, a tragedy that inspired his short story. While in Vienna, Joe meets a fascinating couple, Paul and India Tate and falls in love with both.
This is a standard plot line, young American goes to Europe (or somewhere else exotic) and falls under the spell of a glamourous couple. To say that it’s been done before is not to say that it isn’t entertaining here–it is. Jonathan Carroll creates a trio of fascinating characters, each of the likable in spite of their flaws. Readers will easily understand why Joe falls under the Tate’s spell and most will enjoy watching it happen, even those who expected a fantasy novel.
Where’s the fantasy.
80 pages into the novel, Paul puts on a magic show for Joe and India. His show defies explanation. It can only be real magic. India acts as though it’s just a series of visual tricks so Joe quickly assumes the same. While he is impressed with Paul’s skill as a magician he does not suspect he is anything more than that. But the reader does.
As happens in most books that follow this particular story arc, Joe falls in love with India and the two have an affair. Paul finds out but is killed in an ‘accident’ before he can confront Joe. He the novel finally switches into full fantasy mode when Paul returns from the dead to haunt Joe and India.
I cannot go any further without spoiling the plot which I do’t want to do. I want you to read this one. It’s very good, very entertaining, not exactly full of surprises but the few surprises Jonathan Carroll has in store for his readers will be more than worth the wait. The big finish is one that will drop jaws. Seriously. I spent ten minutes trying to find mine afterwards.
This book counts as my first read for the Once Upon a Time VIII reading challenge. I’ve a little stack of Fantasy Masterworks that I’m looking forward to reading between now and the end of June. I hope they’re all as good as Voice of Our Shadow was.