August 6, 2022 5:14 PM - Subscribe

Author John M. Ford's final, unfinished work. In the bustling capital city of Lescoray, a member of Parliament strives to do the right thing.

Note: This book is unfinished (at four hundred-some pages). It will leave you in unresolvable suspense. If you crave narrative closure, proceed with caution.

The setting is not unlike a monarch-less late Victorian England. Lescoray has gone from monarchy to a Parliamentarian government within the last generation, and the Constitution is still being worked out.

Magic exists as an everyday thing, as does religion, as does atheism.

We open with a duel; there is political manoeuvring, an Embassy party, a journey on an ornate sleeper train, a gathering of friends in a mysterious country house, role-playing games, and a ride through remote western regions. Also a whole lot of very good food.

Further note: one Black character has a rather cringeworthy sentence in their initial description ("Her eyes were large and quite black, with an exotic tilt.") There's also some ableist language: one character refers to "mad aunts and deformed children and barren wives". Ford was a white guy and the book dates from the years before his death in 2006. I mention these sentences because they stood out unpleasantly in a book I otherwise liked.
posted by Pallas Athena
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