cover image The Troupe

The Troupe

Robert Jackson Bennett. Orbit, $13.99 trade paper (512p) ISBN 978-0-316-18752-7

Bennett (The Company Man) melds an energetic reimagining of medieval myth with an engrossing backdrop of impresarios, puppeteers, and amazing feats of strength in this tale of turn-of-the-century vaudevillians. The performances of Hieronomo “Harry” Silenus’s quartet leave audiences dazzled yet unable to remember what they have seen. Teen piano prodigy George Carole, believing that Harry is his father, joins the quartet and learns their actual mission: to sing the song of creation that keeps the world alive and safe. As darkness closes in, the exhausted and increasingly fractious performers gamble everything for one more bit of the song. True motives borne of old sadness are revealed with delicate precision, and even the most terrifying creatures are invested with a heartrending pathos. Narrated perfectly by a baffled young man whose zealous pursuit of a father’s love is often outpaced by his alternately endearing and dangerous vanity, Bennett’s finely crafted novel rises on a wave of suspense to a place of beauty and hope. Agent: Donald Maass Literary Agency. (Feb.)