This charming Victorian fantasy, fifth in the Western Lights series (following 2007's Bertram of Butter Cross), surrounds a mystery with cozy world-building. Eugene Stanley, visiting Salthead University to help his uncle complete a long-delayed book, first discovers that a mysterious lamp's light shows strange spirits and then inadvertently enters the spirit world while seeking missing Professor Haygarth. Though more narrator than hero, Stanley's determination to find the professor raises him above a mere Watson, and his final decision adds a welcome note of quiet surprise. It's not explained why mastodons and "saber-cats" roam this alternate England, or what occasioned and resulted from the catastrophe called the sundering, but while these mysteries may lead newcomers to the rest of the series, neither is necessary to appreciate this installment on its own. (Oct.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Eugene Stanley, nephew of Professor Christopher Greenshields, a noted scholar of Aegean civilizations, has agreed to help a relative research his latest book. While engaged in his work, Stanley encounters a number of mysterious and sinister phenomena-ghostly apparitions, unexplained writings, and disembodied voices-hinting at unimaginable dangers. Set in a Victorian-era alternate world still steeped in an Ice Age, Barlough's latest addition to his "Western Lights" series (e.g., Dark Sleeper) continues to add an element of civilized creepiness to his vividly imagined world. Notable characters reminiscent of the narrators of Lovecraftian horror bring an immediacy to this tale of ghostly horror. Recommended for fans of old-fashioned ghost stories with a Dickensian feel.