I have been on a roll lately and not in a good way. It seems like nearly everything I’ve read the past two months or so has been somehow disappointing. I’m very pleased to announce that the losing streak is over thanks to The Rook. And what’s better, the sequel, Stiletto, is coming out in a matter of weeks (June 14 to be exact)! I’m so excited!!
Myfanwy (she pronounces it to rhyme with ‘Tiffany’, although the authentic Welsh pronunciation would be different) Thomas suddenly comes to her senses with no idea who or where she is. All she knows is that there are a bunch of incapacitated people around her. The rest of the novel revolves around her trying to piece together who she is and why and how she ended up in the rain with no idea who she was. She is assisted in these endeavors by her (previous) self who was warned that she would lose her memories and so prepared extensive notes and explanations in the forms of letters from Me to You. Original Myfanwy is clearly distinct but every bit as much interesting and entertaining as the current occupant of her/their? body.
Myfanwy figures out quickly with help from herself that she works for a secret government agency called Checquy that employs people with supernatural abilities to protect the country and the world from various supernatural disasters. She also finds out that she is a high ranking member of the organization which is nominally based on chess pieces (mostly, the 2 are not king and queen as that would be problematic in England). She’s a Rook. Myfanwy can take control of a person’s body and bodily functions, while her counterpart Rook Gestalt is one mind in four bodies. There’s also Lady Farrier (Lady is the title used instead of Queen) who can enter and influence people’s dreams, a Chevalier (knight) who appears to have unusual contortionist abilities, a Bishop who exhudes black smoke from his body, a vampire, and plenty of others.
Among this varied cast is someone who was responsible for destroying the original Rook Thomas, and current Rook Thomas needs to figure out who while not letting anyone know she’s forgotten who she was. Then there’s the Grafters, Belgian scientists who experimented on human bodies with frequently grotesque results, who are the enemies of the Checquy (I would love to know how this is pronounced) and seem to have infiltrated and invaded both England and the Checquy. Myfanwy encounters one of their head guys in her office naked (he is, not her) with unexpected results, including the fact that she finds him very attractive.
This books has everything a good story should: interesting characters, good action and intrigue, humor, with the promise of more to come.