London, 1892: James Norbury, a shy would-be poet newly down from Oxford, finds lodging with a charming young aristocrat. Through this new friendship, he is introduced to the drawing-rooms of high society, and finds love in an unexpected quarter. Then, suddenly, he vanishes without a trace. Unnerved, his sister, Charlotte, sets out from their crumbling country estate determined to find him. In the sinister, labyrinthine city that greets her, she uncovers a secret world at the margins populated by unforgettable characters: a female rope walker turned vigilante, a street urchin with a deadly secret, and the chilling “Doctor Knife.” But the answer to her brother’s disappearance ultimately lies within the doors of one of the country’s preeminent and mysterious institutions: The Aegolius Club, whose members include the most ambitious, and most dangerous, men in England.(from Netgalley)
James and Charlotte Newbury had a fairly sheltered childhood. James moves to London by himself and get mixed up with a very different group (emphasis on different). When he disappears, his sister comes to the rescue - or at least tries.
I found the first third of this book a bit slow going. Just as I was debating whether to continue, the story really picked up and oh boy, did it end up being good. Charlotte’s search for James is relentless and full of intrigue. Lots of scary characters and good suspense. I especially like the ending.
A strong debut by Ms. Oliver.
My thanks to Random House Publishing, via Netgalley, for allowing me to read this in exchange for an unbiased review.