Christopher Marlowe and his Elizabethan set are reincarnated in a near-future dystopian London on the brink of destruction, battling AIDS and trapped by their shared past.
A typically original and erotically charged novel by one of Britain's most idiosyncratic writers, The Grid is set in the not-too-distant future, when Britain is ruled by the autocratic Commissar, London has merged with Tokyo and police use flying cars to combat rogue Boeing pilots doing kamikaze stunts over the capital's skyscrapers. Amid the dystopian chaos a group of men attend a mysterious hypnotherapy clinic called the Grid to receive treatment for AIDSbut as the therapy progresses they begin to realize that they are, in fact, reincarnations of Christopher Marlowe, William Shakespeare, and other members of the dramatists' Elizabethan circle, including Nicholas Skeres, Henry Wriothesley, and Thomas Walsingham. As the past merges with the present they find themselves embarking on a journey that leads to the resolution of one of the all-time great literary mysteriesthe murder of Marlowe in a Deptford tavern in 1593as well as one the most extraordinary finales in recent British fiction.
Kit, the scheming screenwriter at the center of Reed's latest novel, inhabits a future London where a militant Commissar is in power, the Japanese have immigrated to the city in droves, and a new treatment for AIDS has a perplexing side effect. After Kit undergoes treatment at a mysterious medical center known as the Grid, he begins to unearth memories that belong to none other than Christopher Marlowe, incidentally the subject of a screenplay Kit's under contract to write. As Marlowe's memories become overwhelming, other Grid patients begin contacting Kit to share recovered memories of their own, including all the key figures surrounding Marlowe's murder. As the memories become more vivid, threatening to swallow the men's current identities, the group seeks to unearth the true circumstances of Marlowe's death. Reed's zeal for Marlovian history bogs the narrative down in names, dates and facts, further strained by the book's dystopian backdrop and future-punk posturing, with lots of name-dropping and little explanation. (Dec.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved