Nurse Letitia “Tish” Everett has only really started recovering from her very controlling, emotionally and physically abusive fiancee Jeff, when she’s drawn to a tarnished antique locket at an estate sale and actually ends up shocking herself by stealing it. After managing to force it open, she is splashed by luminous crimson liquid. Inside the locket, there is a portrait of a darkly handsome man she think of as a “naughty Mr. Darcy” and a foreign inscription of some kind. Falling asleep with the locket on, she wakes up, stark naked on what appears to be a stone altar in the the middle of the woods. The handsome man from the locket is there waiting for her, and though she insists she must be having a very lucid dream, he explains that she’s in a different world now.
The stranger introduces himself as Criminy Stain, a Bludman from the world of Sang. The inhabitants of Sang are either Pinkies, or humans, like Tish, or Bludmen, like Criminy. The Bludmen drink blood, like the vampires of Tish’s world, but aren’t even vaguely hampered by sunlight, garlic, stakes, crucifixes or suchlike. As Tish listens to Criminy’s explanations, she also discovers another important difference between her world and Sang. All the animals in the wild have sharp pointy teeth, all the better to devour you with. The bunnies may look fluffy, but they want to suck her blood and eat her flesh. Criminy claims to have magically obtained the locket, which he sent out into the world to find his one true love. As Tish, or Letitia as he insists on calling her, found it and opened it, she must be his intended. He wants her to stay in Sang with him, running his carnival of freaks and outcasts. Tish is less than impressed. Even if her strange experience turns out not to be a dream, she has an ailing grandmother to care for at home, as well as a number of patients who rely on her. She’s not in the market for a boyfriend, even one as charming and handsome as the mysterious Mr. Stain.
Nonetheless, Criminy takes her back to his caravan, after she’s narrowly escaped being bitten by several fierce Bludbunnies on the way. Once there, she’s quite taken with the fancy corseted outfit she’s given and they discover that she’s a “glancer”, someone who gets visions when she touches the bare flesh of another person. Because she saves the life of the costumer (who is also Criminy’s accountant) with her vision, it’s clear that her abilities are the real deal, and Criminy sets her up as the caravan’s new fortune teller. Tish discovers that when she goes to sleep in Sang, wearing her locket she wakes back up in her own world. When she goes back to sleep in her own bed, having cared for her grandmother and other patients, she’s bac in Sang.
Then the locket gets stolen, and Tish is stuck in Sang. She’s frantic with worry and since she suspects who stole it and what he wants to do with it, it’s imperative that she and Criminy get it back. Criminy is determined that Tish decide to stay with him of her own free will, so they set off on a dangerous quest that will force them to tame Bludhorses, battle ghosts, steal a submarine and outsmart a power-hungry, Bludman-hating city official bent on world domination.
Full review here.