Author: Andre Caldcott
Series: Rotherweird #1
The town of Rotherweird stands alone – there are no guidebooks, despite the fascinating and diverse architectural styles cramming the narrow streets, the avant garde science and offbeat customs. Cast adrift from the rest of England by Elizabeth I, Rotherweird’s independence is subject to one disturbing condition: nobody, but nobody, studies the town or its history.
For beneath the enchanting surface lurks a secret so dark that it must never be rediscovered, still less reused.
But secrets have a way of leaking out.
Two inquisitive outsiders have arrived: Jonah Oblong, to teach modern history at Rotherweird School (nothing local and nothing before 1800), and the sinister billionaire Sir Veronal Slickstone, who has somehow got permission to renovate the town’s long-derelict Manor House.
Slickstone and Oblong, though driven by conflicting motives, both strive to connect past and present, until they and their allies are drawn into a race against time – and each other. The consequences will be lethal and apocalyptic.
Rotherweird really wants to be quirky but only manages to have a cast of characters with names from the list ‘weirdest British names’. There’s for example Veronal Slickstone (he’s greedy), Jonah Oblong (he’s a teacher), Deidre Banter (she’s greedy), Godfery Fanguin (he’s a former teacher), Rhombus Snorkel (he’s also greedy), Vixen Valourhand (she pole-vaults over fences because of…reasons) and countless other characters with oh-so-funny names but no memorable characteristics. With two exceptions. Not that they are memorable, they just don’t have funny names. In fact, they have no names and are just referred to as ‘the actress’ and ‘the boy’. Few things annoy me as much as an author going ‘these characters aren’t even important enough for a name’.
Though to be fair I didn’t care much about them…but then I didn’t care about any of the characters with the quirky names either. And once you read a third of a book there should be someone you care about. Or at least something. Only the mystery about Rotherweird (which made me pick up the book in the first place) had gotten really boring as well. Thanks to something else that I find even more annoying than characters not being important enough for names: Characters not telling everything they know because…reasons. There were many conversations in which characters just alluded to things but refused to answer straightforward questions or just told a bit and then stopped for no discernible reason. I still don’t know much more about the secret of Rotherweird than I do after reading the blurb. And I really don’t care enough to read on…
ARC provided by NetGalley.