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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A joy
Just read The Somnambulist (brilliant) and didn't realise there was a second book by Johnathan Barnes - deep joy!! The Prefects are back. I am
trying to read this book slowly, difficult though, as I know there'll not be another for a while - highly original plot and a delight to read. Buy it.
Published on 13 April 2008 by L. Kersh

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Not as good as The Somnabulist
Both this book and The Somnabulist are quite alternative reading and, perhaps, not for everyone. However, I much preferred The Somnabulist, I didn't like the new characters in this book and I found the whole thing somewhat more ridiculous than alternative.
Published on 10 May 2010 by pigsmayfly


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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A joy, 13 April 2008
By 
L. Kersh "avid reader" (Yorkshire, England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Domino Men (GOLLANCZ S.F.) (Paperback)
Just read The Somnambulist (brilliant) and didn't realise there was a second book by Johnathan Barnes - deep joy!! The Prefects are back. I am
trying to read this book slowly, difficult though, as I know there'll not be another for a while - highly original plot and a delight to read. Buy it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Faustian pacts, 7 Jun 2009
By 
E. A Solinas "ea_solinas" (MD USA) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Domino Men (GOLLANCZ S.F.) (Paperback)
Jonathan Barnes made a pretty big stir with his debut novel, a steampunky mystery of deduction, horror and a threat to London.

But there's a far worse threat to England's capital in the sequel, "The Domino Men." Barnes switches over to the current day events (with a little strategic name-shuffling) in an increasingly creepy plot, full of monstrous interlopers, Faustian pacts, and an ordinary man caught in the middle of chaos.

When his grandfather has a stroke, Henry Lamb finds himself drafted into the Directorate in granddad's place -- a tiny, powerful group ruled by an ancient man in an amniotic tank.

They reveal that there has been a silent civil war in Great Britain since 1857, and that the key to winning that war (and saving London) is a mysterious woman named Estella. When his grandfather's house is firebombed (along with Estella's whereabouts), the Directorate takes drastic steps: they send Lamb to meet the Domino Men, a pair of gleefully psychotic twins with superhuman powers.

The war comes to a head as the Directorate's presence disrupts everything Henry knows and loves, and unleashes the Domino Men on London. But even that might not be enough to stop the horror that is coming -- and Henry Lamb may be made the unwilling sacrifice that can stop it.

And throughout the story, Lamb's frantic narrative is usurped by another presence, which tells the story of the spoiled, fusty Prince Arthur Windsor (read: Prince Charles, complete with a suitably glamorous "Laetitia"). A malevolent man named Streator tells him of the horrific pact Queen Victoria made with an otherworldly monstrosity named "Leviathan"... and Prince Arthur discovers just how terrifying it is.

Jonathan Barnes has a special talent for the unspeakably creepy -- Faustian pacts, a gilled relic in a tank on a ferris wheel, concentrated-essence pills, a trio of immortal lawyers, and a pair of unspeakably creepy, demonic men who take naughty-schoolboy pleasure in destruction.

And rather than the steampunk-tinged horror-mystery of his previous novel, this time he goes into a sort of spy thriller with a slow, creeping sense of dread. It almost devolves into silliness when "the secret" is revealed to be a war against the evil House of Windsor (which Henry refuses to divulge), but the slow revelation of the monstrous evil coming to London is even more effective.

It's a bit distracting that Barnes keeps veering off into Henry's rather pitiful love life and his longing for his sexy landlady. Fortunately these are only spots of sentimentality against a tide of the eerie and bizarre, which climaxes in an explosion of Lovecraftian horror.

I have to say, Lamb doesn't do much for me as a protagonist -- he seems somehow rather weak and shapeless, although that seems to be Barnes' intention. And Barnes pulls a few characters from his prior novel -- the aged Dedlock of the Directorate, and the ghastly twins who have no inhibitions about destroying everything and everyone for a chuckle.

"The Domino Men" is a suitable horrific sequel to Jonathan Barnes' memorable debut, and leaves the door open for more stories about the Directorate. Eerie, ghastly and morbidly amusing.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Keeps on truckin., 7 July 2008
By 
Gareth Wilson - Falcata Times Blog "Falcata T... - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Domino Men (GOLLANCZ S.F.) (Paperback)
The second instalment that carries on from where The Somnambulist leaves off using the two killers from the original instamment as a link to the second. Whilst they don't do much other than act as a link it's a good way to join the two stories and allow the reader a glimpse into the world in which the story is based. This time we follow the political struggles of a man thrown into the deep end where he has to contend with the gripes and grumbles of an unhappy drug fuelled prince whose wife despises him and whose mother refuses to relinquish the thrown.

Intrigue and double dealing accompany this tale as it wends it way through and gives the reader a sense of satisfaction at the conclusion. A masterpiece in the making.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Weird stuff in London, 23 Oct 2009
By 
D. Harris (Oxford, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Domino Men (GOLLANCZ S.F.) (Paperback)
I think there's a whole sub genre emerging (or has it long emerged and I've just missed it? So many books, so little time to read them) which I would call "weird stuff in modern London". For example, A Madness of Angels, Kraken, Memoirs of a Master Forger or - I suppose - almost anything recent (for adults) by Russell Hoban - such as The Bat Tattoo. "Domino men" is a good example, and it crosses over into steampunk, which is another sub-genre I'd not really noticed (this a bit peripheral, and is done via flashbacks from the main action to Queen Victoria, who in this book, in 1857, committed a monstrous act against her subjects. And another sub-genre - or sub-sub-genre - seem to be VR re-imagined in the most lurid ways)).

Anyway. In this book, a sequel to The Somnambulist (Gollancz S.F.), Henry Lamb, a humble filing clerk, battles against malign forces seeing to destroy modern London. He doesn't ask to do this, but seems fated to fulfil the role, for which he has long been groomed. As the nightmare descends on London, he begins to find a pattern in his earlier life. The pattern links in the death of Henry's father, his mother's bitterness towards his grandfather, and his early career in TV. In his quest, Henry is assisted by the Directorate, a hidden department of state headquartered in the London Eye. The Directorate has, since that incident back in 1857, been at war with the House of Windsor - a war conducted in secret, but with no mercy on either side (could explain a lot, I suppose...)

The Domino Men of the title are truly awful creations, far more interesting than poor Henry (they apparently feature in the earlier book, which I confess I hadn't read, and will now) who play what initially seems a peripheral role, but gradually move to the centre of things, though I'm not sure that they really deserve to give the book its title.

So - fantastical, fast moving, scary in places, a real puzzler of a book and a gripping read. It has a number of nice moments; I liked the gallery of portraits in 10 Downing street, beginning with recent Prime Ministers but leading back and back in time to a figure in furs and skins.

Definitely worth a look, and I hope for a sequel.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Not as good as The Somnabulist, 10 May 2010
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This review is from: The Domino Men (GOLLANCZ S.F.) (Paperback)
Both this book and The Somnabulist are quite alternative reading and, perhaps, not for everyone. However, I much preferred The Somnabulist, I didn't like the new characters in this book and I found the whole thing somewhat more ridiculous than alternative.
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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Didn't finish it, 6 Dec 2009
By 
Robert (Uxbridge, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Domino Men (GOLLANCZ S.F.) (Paperback)
I am glad I borrowed this from the library and did not spend money on it. I read the first third, skipped to the end and returned it. The novel is set in an alternative present day London and concerns the British royal family trying to sell out the city to an evil entitiy. A bit of a Faustian contract. The protagonist is a young man whose grandfather worked for an agency opposing deal. Nothing wrong there. It was just that the story was made convoluted and long when it would have made an OK short story. There were a lot of POV changes that felt unecessary. I felt they were also unsympathetic. Not for me.
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The Domino Men (GOLLANCZ S.F.)
The Domino Men (GOLLANCZ S.F.) by Jonathan Barnes (Paperback - 21 Feb 2008)
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