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Book Review

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Lost Acre (Hardback)


Author: Andrew Caldecott
Publisher: Jo Fletcher Books
472 pages
RRP: £16.99
ISBN: 978 1 78747 376 8
Publication Date: 25 July 2019

Lost Acre (2019. 473 pages) is the third and last book in a trilogy, written by Andrew Caldecott. I wish that this knowledge had occurred to me, prior to reading, as much which is left unexplained is probably contained in the first two novels. The book is illustrated by Sasha Laika, who provides a number of darkly disturbing black and white plates.

The story revolves around the return of Gervon Wynter to Rotherweird, his plan is to use elements which he put in place hundreds of years ago to persuade the town folk to hand power over to him. When he succeeds his reign soon turns toxic with only a handful of stalwarts willing to stand up to him. Having put all the elements in place he can pose as an almost god-like creature who can foretell events before they happen and vanquish monsters. This leads many to follow him. Unfortunately for Wynter he is not the only person who can play at this game and one particular misstep opens up questions and doubt.

I wish I had read the first two books as Caldecott does a wonderful job at channelling his inner Peake. The overall novel owes more than a little to Gormenghast. The town is set in the English countryside and yet is not part of it; more oddly, it is a place where history is banned.

Given the complexity of the novel, this does not work well as a stand-alone story, its need to be self-referential is a necessity to ground the story into the overall arc, but this will also leave the reader floundering. I’m not sure that there was any other option for Caldecott as he has created a deeply rich narrative. On the other hand it has made me want to go back and read the story from the beginning.

Like Gormenghast, Rotherweird has an undefinable strange feel to it. As a reader you don’t really know how big it is or how many people it contains. As a world isolated from the real world its customs and culture are strange, decidedly eccentric, which keeps the reader in a state of intense interest and bemusement.

So, it was a great read, but not really effective as a self-contained story, but rich and rewarding enough to make you want to explore the whole trilogy.


Charles Packer

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