This book is the third of the six volume series that John Clute has called the "Answered Prayers" sequence. None of the six require the reading of any others but reading them all in sequence does give rise to understanding of some subtleties and can assist your own postulation of what might be going on underneath the higher levels of story.
We follow the story of Weber Gregston who is in many respects the running thread that connects answered prayers having been a supporting character in the first book (Bones of the Moon) and having had a walk on part in the second book (Sleeping In Flame). Weber is a critically acclaimed and commercially successful movie Director who has semi-retired to run a theatre group in New York. His ordered world is disrupted when his best friend and fellow Director (albeit of slasher films) Peter Strayhorn commits suicide. Weber receives a video from Strayhorn that requires him to investigate the circumstances of his death, a video that only plays so far and no more until Weber makes progress in the investigation. Then there is a short story "Mr Fiddlehead" the ending of which changes over time. Gradually Weber gets drawn into remaking Strayhorn's final incomplete movie in order to set right ills caused by its subject. The ending is unclear and leaves you uncertain just which "side" Weber was working for but we should not expect easy answers from Carroll and there are, after all, some more books to come...
A Child Across The Sky uses many of the trademarks of a great Carroll novel, sucking us in with believable characters and great storytelling. With subtle shifts of scene and story we gradually move from the world we know into one decidedly disturbing and different but because of the starting position it remains very believable. There are moments here when even the most liberal free thinker and supporter of free speech might find themselves thinking hard about some of our popular culture and feeling a little disturbed.
A Child Across the Sky is one of Carroll's more demanding works given the opacity of its plot in places but it is well worth the effort required. It is also perhaps the one book of the Answered Prayers sequence that benefits from having read the previous ones first and is also leads in many ways into the six book, From The Teeth Of Angels.
A view on people's morbid fascination with evil (via horror films). While it kicks off strangely it suddenly develops a brilliant pseudo-Neil Gaiman narrative, only to drown in its increasingly obsessive fixation on evil as... a morbid fascination
I purchased this book for my son, it was in good condition and came on time. He has not read any of this author's books before. I was trying to buy him something original for his birthday so here's hoping this fits the bill.