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The Domino Men

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The Domino Men Cover

ISBN13: 9780061671401
ISBN10: 0061671401
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
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Review-A-Day

"The premise of Jonathan Barnes's frenetic, uneven, sometimes bleak Domino Men, a sequel to his first novel, The Somnambulist, sounds like a combination of spy novel and Lovecraft pastiche: From 1857 to the present day, the mysterious Directorate and the English monarchy's House of Windsor have waged a secret war against each other because of a pact between Queen Victoria and a supernatural monster known as Leviathan. Long ago, the queen accepted Leviathan's offer to 'guide us, keep us, protect us [and] render us inviolate against invasion.' In return, the queen promised to eventually hand over London to the monster." Jeff VanderMeer, The Washington Post Book World (read the entire Washington Post Book World review)

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

In an earlier century, Queen Victoria made a Faustian bargain, signing London and all its souls away to a nefarious, inhuman entity. Now, generations later, the bill has finally come due...

Jonathan Barnes caused a considerable splash in the literary pool when he dove in with his head-spinning debut, The Somnambulist, a novel of the truly odd and exceptional that the Washington Post called "strange, magical, and darkly hilarious...an original and monumental piece of work" and Denver's Rocky Mountain News dubbed "the best fantasy novel of the year." In his second endeavor, the acclaimed author returns us to a strikingly similar world — albeit at a different time — ushering fortunate readers into his latest breathtaking cabinet of curiosities.

Henry Lamb, an amiable and anonymous file clerk, pushes paper in the Storage and Record Retrieval section of the Civil Service Archive Unit. His life has always been quiet and unremarkable — until the day he learns that he's expected to assume the covert responsibilities of his universally despised grandfather, now lying comatose in the hospital.

Summoned to the gargantuan Ferris wheel known as the London Eye, Henry receives his orders from Dedlock, a gilled and wrinkled old gentleman eternally floating in a pool of amniotic fluid. London, it seems, is at war, resisting an apocalyptic fate foisted upon it by a long-dead queen. A shadowy organisation known (to very few) as the Directorate wishes to recruit Henry to the cause. All he has to do is find "the girl" and save the world from the monster Leviathan, who can already taste the succulent metropolis that will soon be his to devour. Simple enough.

But there are formidable enemies lining up to oppose Henry, all gathering in and around the royal family. His Royal Highness, Crown Prince Arthur Aelfric Vortigern Windsor — the sniveling, overbored, underappreciated sole heir to the British throne — has been shaken from his resentful malaise by grisly, seductive visions of unrestrained power...and by an extremely potent narcotic called ampersand. And an unspeakable evil lurks in the cellar of 10 Downing Street: the twin, serial-slaying schoolboy nightmares, the Domino Men — so-called for their hideous desire and terrifying ability to topple every towering edifice in the city, one after the other...just for a giggle.

Review:

"Barnes's second novel, a compelling supernatural thriller, shows his impressive debut, The Somnambulist (2008), was no fluke. Shadowy figures working for a covert government agency called the Directorate inform Henry Lamb, a clerk with London's civil service archive unit, that his grandfather, recently felled by a stroke, was once a major player in their secret war against the House of Windsor. In 1857, Queen Victoria promised the souls of the people of London to a monstrous Lovecraftian entity known as the Leviathan. Now the bill is due. Since Lamb's grandfather held the secret to the whereabouts of a woman named Estella, who's critical to containing the Leviathan, the members of the Directorate regard Lamb as their best hope for locating Estella. Thanks to Barnes's evocative prose, readers will easily suspend disbelief. Those who enjoy the grafting of fantasy elements onto contemporary urban landscapes will be more than satisfied." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

"Macabre wit and stylistic panache. Parliament should immediately pass a law requiring Barnes to write a sequel." James Morrow, author of The Last Witchfinder and The Philosopher's Apprentice

Review:

"A comic extravaganza, deftly plotted, fiendishly clever, and wonderfully funny....One of the classiest entertainments I've read." Christopher Bram, author of Exiles in America

Review:

"A wonderfully original concoction of grotesque humour and sparkling prose." The Guardian

Synopsis:

In the sequel to the crazed Victoriana of The Somnambulist, the imaginative and brilliant Barnes brings his invention, satire, and curiosities up to date in this work hailed as "the best fantasy novel of the year" (Rocky Mountain News).

Synopsis:

“An infectious blend of wit, wonder, and the bizarre presented with remarkable style.”

—San Antonio Express-News

 

Jonathan Barnes, author of The Somnambulist, outdoes himself in outrageous invention with The Domino Men. Fans of Neil Gaiman, Jasper Fforde, Susanna Clarke, Matt Ruff, and Douglas Adams will not want to miss this quirky and compelling tale of intrigue, conspiracy, and general oddness. Think The Office meets James Bond fighting aliens with a healthy dollop of H.P. Lovecraft horror thrown in for good measure—and thats only half the fun of Barness wonderfully bizarre The Domino Men.

About the Author

Jonathan Barnes, author of the critically acclaimed novel The Somnambulist, graduated from Oxford University with a first in English literature. He reviews for the Times Literary Supplement and lives in London.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

Jvstin, February 2, 2009 (view all comments by Jvstin)

A book I received under the auspices of Amazon Vine, The Domino Men is a fantasy/horror novel by Jonathan Barnes.


There have been a spate of what some have labeled "The New Weird" in fantasy and horror in the last few years. Authors like Jeff Vandermeer, China Mieville, and M John Harrison are the major figures in this movement, but this movement has influenced new authors, too.

Jonathan Barnes' work seems to fall into this bracket. The Domino Men is a novel set in the same world of his previous novel, The Somnambulist. The story ostensibly is the story of Henry Lamb, hapless file clerk (and former child TV star) in London who slowly is wrapped in the tendrils of an ancient conflict that involves his grandfather, the House of Windsor, and the fate of Earth.

The world is not quite the one we know, since the Crown Prince is named Arthur, and only has had one wife, without a single child.

And then there is the titular Domino Men, Hawker and Boon. They cut a swath of sadism and darkness in the novel that really is at an angle to the rest of the action. While they are important, they aren't central to the narrative.

And what a narrative? A Dark faustian bargain which "The Directorate" has been fighting for a century. Over the top hilarity is cheek and jowl with darkness and denigration. This jarring tone is carried throughout the novel and it gave me as a reader continual emotional whiplash.

The novel started off well enough, but as the novel progressed, I became dissatisfied with it. Lamb, like his name, is far, far too passive for a protagonist. He doesn't question his orders and is pushed around the chessboard like a hapless pawn. I couldn't identify with him, and only could pity him. In addition, midway through the novel, the first person past narrative was punctuated by a different first person narrator who shows us Arthur's perspective. While it becomes clear in the end why we should be privy to this narrative, I didn't feel it fit all that well with Lamb's story.

Finally, the ending ended my chances of walking away from the novel satisfied. Characters are brutally tortured and go through hell while London suffers cataclysmic upheaval.

Even for fans of the New Weird, there are far better and more rewarding novels than this one in that vein. It's not a terrible novel, but it could have been much better than it was executed.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780061671401
Author:
Barnes, Jonathan
Publisher:
William Morrow
Author:
by Jonathan Barnes
Author:
by Jonathan Barnes
Subject:
Fantasy - General
Subject:
Fantasy - Historical
Subject:
Thrillers
Subject:
Inheritance and succession
Subject:
History
Subject:
Fantasy fiction
Subject:
London (England) History 1800-1950.
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Hardcover
Publication Date:
20090127
Binding:
Hardback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
400
Dimensions:
9.52x6.00x1.31 in. 1.11 lbs.

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Science Fiction and Fantasy » Fantasy » Historical

The Domino Men Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$4.95 In Stock
Product details 400 pages William Morrow - English 9780061671401 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Barnes's second novel, a compelling supernatural thriller, shows his impressive debut, The Somnambulist (2008), was no fluke. Shadowy figures working for a covert government agency called the Directorate inform Henry Lamb, a clerk with London's civil service archive unit, that his grandfather, recently felled by a stroke, was once a major player in their secret war against the House of Windsor. In 1857, Queen Victoria promised the souls of the people of London to a monstrous Lovecraftian entity known as the Leviathan. Now the bill is due. Since Lamb's grandfather held the secret to the whereabouts of a woman named Estella, who's critical to containing the Leviathan, the members of the Directorate regard Lamb as their best hope for locating Estella. Thanks to Barnes's evocative prose, readers will easily suspend disbelief. Those who enjoy the grafting of fantasy elements onto contemporary urban landscapes will be more than satisfied." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review A Day" by , "The premise of Jonathan Barnes's frenetic, uneven, sometimes bleak Domino Men, a sequel to his first novel, The Somnambulist, sounds like a combination of spy novel and Lovecraft pastiche: From 1857 to the present day, the mysterious Directorate and the English monarchy's House of Windsor have waged a secret war against each other because of a pact between Queen Victoria and a supernatural monster known as Leviathan. Long ago, the queen accepted Leviathan's offer to 'guide us, keep us, protect us [and] render us inviolate against invasion.' In return, the queen promised to eventually hand over London to the monster." (read the entire Washington Post Book World review)
"Review" by , "Macabre wit and stylistic panache. Parliament should immediately pass a law requiring Barnes to write a sequel."
"Review" by , "A comic extravaganza, deftly plotted, fiendishly clever, and wonderfully funny....One of the classiest entertainments I've read."
"Review" by , "A wonderfully original concoction of grotesque humour and sparkling prose."
"Synopsis" by , In the sequel to the crazed Victoriana of The Somnambulist, the imaginative and brilliant Barnes brings his invention, satire, and curiosities up to date in this work hailed as "the best fantasy novel of the year" (Rocky Mountain News).
"Synopsis" by ,

“An infectious blend of wit, wonder, and the bizarre presented with remarkable style.”

—San Antonio Express-News

 

Jonathan Barnes, author of The Somnambulist, outdoes himself in outrageous invention with The Domino Men. Fans of Neil Gaiman, Jasper Fforde, Susanna Clarke, Matt Ruff, and Douglas Adams will not want to miss this quirky and compelling tale of intrigue, conspiracy, and general oddness. Think The Office meets James Bond fighting aliens with a healthy dollop of H.P. Lovecraft horror thrown in for good measure—and thats only half the fun of Barness wonderfully bizarre The Domino Men.

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