I was rather intrigued by the idea of writing a Victorian novel on a computer. One of the unforeseen consequences of this, however, was that I didn't notice how long the book was becoming.
From the author's comments at the end — in paperback form, it's nearly 1200 pages.
At the surface level, this is a pastiche Dickensian thriller, giving a
whirlwind tour of the seamier side of London in the 1820s — but it's
really a ferociously complicated multiple-viewpoints mystery along the lines of
An Instance of the Fingerpost, and it's written using a
mathematically-constrained structure in the same way as
Life A User's
This is an extremely impressive piece of work, designed to reward rereading,
and there's a lot that I didn't pick up the first time through.
I was particularly struck this time by John's behaviour in the final chapter;
not one to read, bleary-eyed, late at night!
Many of the mysteries are discussed (but not necessarily solved) in a long
discussion thread about
The Quincunx on
Simon Morris's blog
— don't read it until you've completed the novel at least once, though.
If ever there was a book that needed a wiki for annotations…