** 1/2 The Glass Books of the Dream Eaters By Gordon Dahlquist
A weighty Victorian thriller.
When Celeste Temple receives a terse "Dear Jane" letter from her beau, Roger Bascombe, she doesn't just get mad: she gets curious. Her quest to discover Roger's reasons for leaving leads her to the opulent home of Lord Vandaariff, who entertains highly unusual guests in a highly unusual fashion. In the unlikely company of "Cardinal" Chang, an assassin trying to discover who killed one of his targets before he got there, and Dr. Abelard Svenson, a physician in search of a missing client, Miss Temple investigates Lord Vandaariff's diabolical Process and the source of the bizarre, violent, and erotic happenings at his manor.
Bantam. 768 pages. $26. ISBN: 0385340354
Kansas City Star *** 1/2
"Dahlquist uses a superfluity of detail to impart a disturbing evocation of Victorian debauchery.... [The novel] has a clever conceit with a foundation of literature as fantasy, though it has its excesses and derivations." ROBERT FOLSOM
Washington Post ** 1/2
"Ponderously ornate ... it's a kinky, atmospheric look at Victorian England that all too often moves like a sullen coach through one of the author's many, many London fogs.... [But] Dahlquist can conjure nifty dreamlike images, such as a mystery train filled with passengers dressed for a Venetian bal masque and small glass calling cards capable of broadcasting images, like Queen Victoria's own little video iPod." KEVIN ALLMAN
USA Today **
"There are lots of fascinating scenes in which people are turned into blue glass, are tinted blue, or spew blue foam from their mouths--and these are some of...