I’d been trying to make Daniel O’Thunder last, to finish reading at the same time as the discussions at the National Post’s Afterword Reading Society, but the damn book sucked me in, and I raced to the end.
I’ll admit I picked up this book reluctantly. It didn’t interest me at first, but Brad from The Post said it was one of his favourites of the year, so I decided to give it a chance. Good thing, ‘cause what an exciting, rip-roaring read it is, with terrific characters: Daniel, a larger-than-life prize-fighter/evangelist; Jack, an enigmatic unreliable narrator; Nell, a foul-mouthed prostitute at once hard and vulnerable; Lord Sculthorpe, an obsessive, predatory aristocrat. Most impressive of them all, Victorian London is a character itself (please excuse the cliché). In the magnificent, atmospheric opening chapter, we meet the Devil, as he traverses London’s seedy underbelly, setting the tone perfectly for this Dickensian novel. With amazing fight scenes, colourful supporting characters and as many twists and turns as a Whitechapel alley, Daniel O’Thunder is an auspicious choice for the new Reading Society (don’t you love the term, “reading society?”) (I think my book club should become a reading society).
The Afterword will wrap up their conversation on March 9 at Ben McNally books. Is anyone else attending?
Visit Ian Weir’s website here.