Although Charlotte Moylan thinks she lives a rather ordinary and oftentimes dull life, the reality is far different. Her father is best known as the famous TV personality Uncle Cosmo, and her mother is a 20-year veteran of the daytime drama Perilous Lives
. They live in the New York community of Kamensic, an artistic enclave where the church is rarely used for religious ceremonies and where death is an "occupational hazard" for the young. The town is also home to Bolerium, a dark manor of indeterminate origin where the enigmatic and somewhat sinister film director Axel Kern lives when he's not making movies.
Axel is Charlotte's godfather, but he's one guardian who may not be looking out for her best interests. Aside from making questionable films, Axel is also in cahoots with the old gods, and is interested in bringing a couple of them along with him to Kamensic. This puts the town--and Charlotte--at the center of an age-old struggle between two Illuminati-style groups, the more-or-less benign Benandanti (seen in Hand's Tiptree Award-winning Waking the Moon) and their rivals, the Malandanti witches. As has become Hand's modus operandi, she tells this story with a luxurious prose that's at once beautiful and also somehow intellectually decadent. Although the book may be a bit slow-paced for some, those who enjoy a smart novel that's rich in style and substance won't want to miss it. --Craig E. Engler
From Publishers Weekly
Hand does for upstate New York what Stephen King has done for rural Maine in this well-written but decidedly creepy dark fantasy about a Bohemian bedroom community and artists' colony located about an hour from Manhattan by train. Seventeen-year-old Charlotte "Lit" Moylan, the daughter of two successful but second-rate TV actors, has never thought much about the oddities of her home town of KamensicAthe strangely decorated Congregational Church, for example, or the community's unusual Halloween tradition, or the high number of suicides among the area's younger citizens. Although she looks forward to going away to college next year, she's basically content with her life. Then Kamensic's most notorious citizen returns to his roots. Alex Kern, the successful avant-garde film director, brings with him a reputation for scandalous, extravagant and decadent parties, replete with perverse sexuality and heavy drug use. His mazelike mansion, Bolerium, sits on the hill overlooking Kamensic like some dangerous predatory beast. Eventually Lit and, indeed, everyone in town receives an invitation to a party, a gala event that, Hand hints, may be nothing less than a prelude to the Apocalypse. Something of a latter-day Aubrey Beardsley in prose, Hand has a talent for portraying forbidding millennial settings brimming with perverse antiheroes, suffering innocents and sadistic demigods. This book, although not quite the equal of her last two novels, Waking the Moon and Glimmering, should strongly appeal to aficionados of sophisticated horror.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.