Set in Stone by Robert Goddard
In order to help Tony Sheridan start to cope with the sudden, tragic and mysterious death of his wife he is invited to stay with his sister-in-law and her husband in their new house, Otherways. Designed and built before the First World War the house is a one-off experiment of a radical architect who never had another design commissioned. Entirely circular and surrounded by a moat it almost defies description seemingly changing aspects of itself depending on the viewer. As Tony starts to settle into his new surroundings and put his life slowly back together he starts having vivid dreams about his sister-in-law, so like and yet so unlike his beloved wife. As he digs deeper into the history of the house he finds that incidents seem to be repeating themselves and not for the first time. Since its construction Otherways has been at the heart of betrayal, treason and murder. Will Tony become its latest victim or can he find out what is going on before he loses more than a few nights sleep….
This is a really difficult book to categorise – as you can tell from the labels I used: Fantasy, Espionage and Crime. It certainly contains all three genres – the house is like something from a horror movie, though much more subtle than most. There is a brooding malevolent presence about the place that is generally spooky. At the core of the novel is an act of betrayal when secrets are passed to the
and lives are ruined in consequence. Lastly there is murder, infidelity,
suicide and threats of savage violence. With so much going on – and so many
genres seemingly being thrown into the mix – it would have been very easy for
the author to have produced a muddled thriller that failed on each count.
Surprisingly, and rather gratifyingly, he managed to hold things together to
produced a decidedly odd but most definitely gripping thriller which I
described to a work colleague as having more twists than a twisty thing. I can
most definitely say that this is a solid page turner having finished it several
days ahead of schedule after reading in excess of 150 pages on a single day.
That alone is quite a recommendation. The narrative pulls the reader through
seemingly without effort and before you know it whole chapters – and hours –
have flown past. This is my second Goddard book and it will most definitely not
be my last. Highly recommended for anyone wanting something more than a little
out of the ordinary.