A debut novel that forms an intriguing introduction to the girl currently calling herself Kathryn Blake. Kate is a flamboyant traceuse, a nerveless pickpocket, an unrivalled cat-burglar . . . Kate is whatever she needs to be; what better place to meet her than Vienna, that city of a thousand faces? If she herself is disappointed with the city, it is because she has half expected, beyond all reasonable probability, to walk into the baroque fantasy city beloved by her mother, but she can reconcile herself to that. So it is not the city her mother dreamt of; she is not the daughter who danced through those dreams, and she is not in Vienna for the dancing. But Kate is wrong: Vienna is always about dancing, if not bright waltzes by candlelight for her mother, then some shadow of the intricate cold war quadrilles of her father – in the dark. Distrusted by her own Department, and thrown onto her own resources, she must pick her way between old friends and new enemies, to find her own answers to old questions.
Carefully-plotted and emotionally involving, this is a book whose well-drawn characters and fine prose can be savoured at leisure. It is also page-turner whose intrigue, capable women and exotic locations can beguile away a long journey.
Alex Brightsmith was born and raised in Bedfordshire and defies anyone who was not to point it out on a map. Bedfordshire has been claimed (or rejected) by at least five bordering regions, and its lasting legacies have been a resistance to categorisation and a fondness for sprouts.
Alex currently lives in Birmingham, commutes reluctantly, gardens and bakes erratically, and writes emotionally engaging, carefully plotted thrillers, fantasy and flash fiction.read more