Clay, previously of Silicon Valley and current victim of the crumbling economy takes a job in an ancient San Francisco bookstore which plunges him into a mystery involving ancient codes, hidden organisations and Google.
Author Robin Sloan could be a version of me from a parallel universe. He has worked in a place whose product I am addicted to (i.e. Twitter) and published a charming mystery in which I found myself thoroughly lost.
Reading the author’s bio it becomes clear that he based his main character around himself and then spun a wonderfully enigmatic story using his passions (while I found myself unemployed and turned my passions to self-employment, dammit why haven’ I finished my book yet!)
Sloan has created a one volumed fantasy for the modern age without having to resort to the magic of Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter. We find ourselves in a pacy quest as the main character Clay starts to uncover the secrets he finds in the depths of his new job. An out of the way and ancient bookshop run by the not-quite equally-ancient and bright eyed Mr. Pemunbra who, for a bookstore owner, doesn’t seem to be interested in actually selling books.
Sloan as carved a nice mystery that book lovers, history enthusiasts and futurists alike will enjoy. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys fiction. While lovers of fantasies and sci-fi will stumble across many recognisable references they are not so intrinsic to the plot as to exclude those familiar with the genres.