Theophilus Grey and the Demon Thief
Philo runs a tight-nit team of link-boys whose role is to guide Londoners home in the dark. Their secondary goal is to collect information about all of the people of importance – and carry it home to their master for rewards. When thieves start dropping senseless to the ground, Philo can’t seem to get any information about it. What appears to be a simple argument between rival groups gets more complicated the more Philo thinks about it.
Philo and the boys are unique. Philo seems a very alert kid, yet unworldly in his own way. He’s far to used to taking orders! But you do see his character develop in the novel, and that’s a big thing for me. I can see the other link-boys getting more time in the sequel. They’re easy to remember the differences between them, which is important for someone like me who forgets names.
This novel twists and turns just like the streets of London. Just as you think you’ve worked out who the culprit is, the amount of information you have changes, and you are forced to reevaluate the whole situation. You feel with Philo when things go wrong, and you match his confusion with your own. I got right inside the character.
I’ve never been to London, but I have read a series of novels about being in London. Olden London somehow seems more interesting than current London to me! This noel effortlessly puts you into Philo’s shoes, and opens your eyes to the everyday life of Georgian Londoners.
There is plenty of room left open for a sequel, but at that same time I was entirely satisfied with the story. I finished it in a brief gasp, and hated that I had gulped it so quickly! The story was just so compelling towards the end that I had to keep reading.
I’ve given this a very generous 5 stars. I realise that I’m heading out of the target age zone for this novel, and so its entertainment value for me is potentially less than it was before. But it was a brilliant novel that I would suggest reading again.
Thanks to Allen & Unwin for providing me with a complimentary review copy of this novel.