cover image The Great When: A Long London Novel

The Great When: A Long London Novel

Alan Moore. Bloomsbury, $29.99 (336p) ISBN 978-1-63557-884-3

Bestseller Moore (Illuminations) brings the rich detail and intricate plotting familiar to his fans to the first epic fantasy in his Long London series, set in 1949 and premised on the notion that “there might be a higher world concealed behind our own.” That hidden truth is revealed to an entertainingly unprepossessing protagonist, 18-year-old Dennis Knuckleyard, who works in a used bookstore owned by his landlady, Coffin Ada. Dennis encounters the supernatural while on a quotidian errand: he’s sent to another book dealer to purchase a lot of rare Arthur Machen books, hopefully at a bargain. But the haul includes an additional title, Reverend Thomas Hampole’s A London Walk: Meditations in the Streets of the Metropolis, which, Coffin Ada reveals, is not a real book: “It’s not in catalogues. It’s not in libraries. Arthur fucking Machen made it up in a cough cough cough novel.... This shouldn’t be here. This comes from cough cough cough somewhere else.” Possessing this little piece of a parallel universe soon proves deadly dangerous, and could break down the barriers between the “real” London and the one Dennis lives in, which, it turns out, is just a shadow of the other. The worldbuilding is extraordinary and the plot is utterly gripping. Readers are sure to be sucked in. (Oct.)