What an intriguing and in the end gripping read; part love story, part fairly tale, part fantasy horror.
Walker is an actor living a good life in Vienna, who meets Maris, a woman who is fleeing from her violent ex, Luc, and who Walker first helps protect and then falls in love with. Their relationship develops fast and we get a lot of their back stories in the first hundred pages or so. In fact for the the first third of this books it reads like a fairly conventional love story.
But then something strange starts to happen: Walker begins to have premonitions of things to come, he discovers the grave of someone identical to him who has been dead thirty years, and gradually he learns he can perform magic.
He begins to explore this with the help of a cynical and thoroughly modern LA shaman, Venasque, who shows Walker that he is the reincarnation of many lives that his dreams are allowing him to remember.
Eventually, after Maris and Venasque are put in danger, he learns why: echoing the horrors of Rumpelstiltskin, his father from hundreds of years ago wants Walker to return to him and threatens everything he loves in order to make that happen.
It’s a gripping read, the characters are strong, and it’s quite hard to characterise this book – it’s thoughtful about so many of aspects of modern life, as well as showing how our past is weaved into our present to create who we are.
What’s most impressive, though, is the gradual shift from an apparently conventional novel to a work of fantasy, one that takes place over a couple of hundred pages until the end when you’re in a world of pure imagination, and it feels right and brilliant.