My Brother’s Keeper by Tim Powers

My Brother’s Keeper by Tim Powers has just recently been published and Jack was sent a copy of the book for review in ParSec, He thought that I would be interested in reading it as it involves the Bronte family. I did quite enjoy it, especially at the beginning. It eventually took me a bit out of my usual orbit – no bad thing now and again I suppose. The book is well written and apparently the author is regarded as one of the founders of Steampunk.

The history of the Bronte family is well known and the author has taken the facts and written a fantasy/horror tale around them. The family is down to just the three sisters and Branwell, plus Patrick the father. They’ve all had their time away from The Parsonage and are back home, things hadn’t gone well for any of them and Branwell has been taken over by his addiction to alcohol. While he was away in London (on a three day bender) he had somehow been sought out by people who knew who he was although he didn’t know them. They damaged his hand and recruited him unwillingly as a – werewolf!!

It turns out that he wasn’t the only one in the family to be targeted, it has been going on for two generations, and their father Patrick has been trying to keep werewolves and ghosts at bay for years, hence his habit of firing bullets at the church every morning!

The blurb on the back says:

Though the future will celebrate Charlotte, Emily and Anne, right now they are unknown,, their genius concealed. In just a few short years they will all be dead, and it will be the middle sister Emily’s chance encounter with a greviously wounded man on the moor that sets them on the path to their doom.

For there is an ancient pagan secret haunting the moors, a dark inheritance in the family bloodline and something terrible buried under an ogham-inscribed slab in the church. Not only are their lives at stake, but their very souls.

I ended up quite enjoying the book although I’m not at all into werewolves, ghosts and dark magic. It was a wee bit spooky that the book features Sulis Minerva, just after we had seen her image at the Roman Baths in Bath though.

It was an apt read for the Halloween season.


Science Fiction and Fantasy Literary Map of the UK


Jack was thrilled to bits when a writer friend of his sent him a link to this literary map of British Science Fiction and Fantasy writers, made up of all their names, inscribed on the part of Britain that they are living or were born in.

Admittedly it’s a few years since he has got round to writing anything, what with pressure of work and then moving house and such. It is about time I gave him a swift kick up the bahookie (bum/ass) in the hopes of galvanising him into action again. He has only had one novel published but has had quite a few short stories appearing in anthologies.

Anyway, there he is, Jack Deighton up on the west coast of Scotland, sandwiched in between Naomi Mitchison and Edwin Morgan amongst others. It’s an interesting and pretty map I think.

The Ladies of Grace Adieu by Susanna Clarke

 The Ladies of Grace Adieu cover

The Ladies of Grace Adieu and other stories by Susanna Clarke has been in my bedroom for years, waiting for me to pick it up and start reading it. I know I mentioned it on ‘pining’ yonks ago and Michelle from In the Silver Room wondered what I would think of it as she had read the book. But I have no idea what Michelle thought of it, Jack read it before I did, it’s more his sort of thing really – a bit weird. But as it happens he wasn’t a big fan either. It’s fantasy – which he isn’t as keen on as compared to Science Fiction.

If you watched Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell on the TV recently you’ll get an idea of what this book is like. The blurb on the back from the Spectator says “These tales read as if Jane Austen had rewritten the Brothers Grimm…. wonderful”

Each to their own but for me these stories don’t really have anything particularly magical about them. I like fairy tales, they’re usually about warnings of how to stay safe and avoid the bad guys, but I obviously prefer things to be more traditional with proper fairies including wands and wishes, the ones in these stories don’t really seem to be much different from the humans. However, it’s about a week since I finished reading the book and I have to say that none of it has stuck in my mind, so I think it’s fair to say that it just wasn’t for me, but it might be just the thing for you – you never know!

Have you read anything by Susanna Clarke, if so what did you think of it and has the story stayed with you?