Wednesday, 9 December 2020

The Nightfarers

Mark Valentine
Tartarus Press

In The Nightfarers, you will discover the secret of a remote Lincolnshire island, visit the last official of a seventeenth century company of explorers, and watch for the light from a Moorish heliograph tower.
You’ll encounter a book that speaks for itself, books that aren’t quite books, and a rare book that really draws you in. There’s also the reincarnation of a decadent occult detective and another, reluctant sleuth who investigates an unusual printing press.
Other stories are set in the afterglow of old Empires in interwar Europe, in the same milieu as the author’s work in Secret Europe and Inner Europe (shared volumes with John Howard). They depict apocalyptic dawns, strange faiths, the stare of stone masks, a Prague actuary, an astrologer in Trieste, a scholar of lost languages.
This new edition of The Nightfarers, the first for over ten years, includes twelve of the original stories and adds two more from the same period.

Over the last few years I've come to regard Mark as one of my absolute favourite authors both for his fiction - 'The Collected Connoisseur' - and non - 'A Country Still All Mystery'.  As such whenever something new to me appears I jump at it.

'The Nightfarers' was originally published in 2009 be Ex-Occidente Press but with copies now selling on the second hand market for eye-watering prices I had long written it off as ome I'd never get to read until that is the lovely folks at Tartarus Press reprinted it.

The fourteen stories presented here all display Mark's customary elegance of both prose and concept with stories of lost lives and secret places and of liminal lands and unsettled people. Alongside these are gently poignant tributes to those who have gone before either inthe form of a namecheck - Hubert Crackanthorpe - homage - William Hope Hodgson - or pastiche - M.P. Shiel.

It's a stunning collection of stories that once again displays the scope of the gentleman's imagination and is, as ever, hugely recommended.

Available from the publisher at the link above.

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