This is only the second Amazon review I've ever bothered to write and I was driven to do so by the fact that this book is highly deserving of much more praise than it has received.
If you are a lover of the English language then this book is worth buying for the way it is written alone, regardless of whether or not you've read Vellum and Ink, which are not required reading to understand the content of this book.
Duncan writes here in a gorgeous, rich and poetic way. His grasp of the English language is masterful. He uses alliteration, internal rhyme and the blending of two existing words to create a new 'nonsense' word which is always clearly understood in the context. I've never read anything like this book and I loved it. The plot becomes clear upon reading the book but you will get a good idea of whether or not you agree with me on his style of writing by reading this, the first page from the book:
"Away over fields of illusion is this city, far ago and now here, on the edge of blueblack night & sea. Under a louring blanket of clouds, gold molten flames of Evenfall, flakes of sunset, flitter and fall as burning autumn leaves, flown in a breeze, down into deep ravines of twilight, riverroads of dust, slidestreets of ash & rust. The razing floor of shadows flows, takes form - a storm in this nocturnal city of nostratic dreaming. We shadows flow from drains & darkened dourways, rippling thru the tarmacobbles underfoot and seeping liquid. Tumbleword trash dances patterns to our touch, like iron filings intergrated by magnetic energies; it scatters, gathers to shapes of interfering fields - of illusion, elusion, elision - as the streets themselves bleed black. We flow across the gutterlitter, subtly changing it, arranging it in spirals, circles, geometric signs & sigils; flow, arise in tiny mists of darkness, wrappling round a small 'tabak' shop sign & moving on to leave it now to sell 'tobacco' in another language. Here at the end of time, we bitmite builders in the shadows sensed, buried inside your sylphs, all those relationshifts & refrictions of shared thoughts & dreams, desires & fears that you yourselves always, & in all ways, refused to recognise in wwaking life. so we reshaped the city in your image. Time broke, so in the days after the world we built anew."
Errata is a collection of four novellas set in the landscape of Duncan's Book Of All Hours novels, Vellum and Ink. They were originally published in a variety of places, and this collection presents the first opportunity to read them all together. There's even a rumour that if you read the novellas and the novels in a particular order the whole story becomes crystal clear*
One thing's for sure, fans of the two novels will revel in the continued adventures of Duncan's side-slipping cast of characters and the learn more about baroque worlds of the bitmites. Less an expansion on the the novels than a scale-shift into their fractal folds these stories are every bit as rich and beautifully written as the books that spawned them.
Additionally, the cover art by Cat Ingall is a gorgeously crafted piece of work.
*Rumour, probably a lie but, hey, if you like a challenge, I'm not going to stop you.
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