Originally published: 23 January 2020
Author: H G Parry
Published by: Orbit Books
Length: 480 pages
Dates read: 30 January-5 February 2020
Charley Sutherland has always been a bit unusual. He was dead when he was born but by some miracle he came back to life. At 8 months old he began talking. By the age of 3 he was able to read adult fiction. And then at 4, he began to bring people and things out of books into the real world.
His older brother, Rob – a young lawyer with an utterly normal life and a suspicious girlfriend – comes to the rescue one night, when Charley is in his office at the University, and he accidentally brings Uriah Heep out of the Charles Dickens novel, David Copperfield. Rob rather hoped that Charley had put all this behind him and learned to control his abilities as a summoner.
Rob and Charley soon discover a magical Dickensian street, hidden from view from the real world, where many literary characters live, including Heathcliff, the Artful Dodger, Dorian Grey and a total of 5 different Mr Darcy’s!
Millie Radcliffe-Dix is a character from a girl detective series of books that Charley enjoyed as a child. Charley brought 6 year old Millie out of her book by accident, and before he could put her back she’d escaped. For some reason, she has aged in the real world, so by the time they meet her again, she’s an accountant in her 30s and is the unofficial guardian of the street and it’s inhabitants.
Charley, Rob and Millie soon become aware of literary characters causing trouble, making threats about destroying the world, and they realise there is another summoner out there who is using their talent for sinister means. They have to work together to try and figure out who the summoner is and stop them before it is too late!
The blurb on this book really appealed to me. I loved the idea of literary characters coming to life and there are so many great characters in this book. Some people are summoners who can purposely bring a character out of a book (and also put them back), but sometimes a normal reader perfectly connects with a book or a character. Hence the reason there are so many Mr Darcy’s which I think is brilliant! Apparently there was quite a spate of them in the 1990s and one looks suspiciously like Colin Firth!
I really enjoyed this – it was great fun, a real adventure. I really liked the whole idea of this book – it felt really magical. It is quite a long book but it felt well paced. Unfortunately I am very much a contemporary reader and don’t really enjoy classics (the only Charles Dickens I’ve read is A Christmas Carol). However, it didn’t spoil the enjoyment of this for me though but I think someone who knows these characters better would be able to enjoy it on a whole other level. A memorable read, The Unlikely Escape of Uriah Heep was really enjoyable!
Many thanks to Tracy Fenton for inviting me on the blog tour and to Orbit Books for sending me a proof copy! Be sure to checkout the other stops below:
About the author:
H.G. Parry lives in a book-infested flat in Wellington, New Zealand, which she shares with her sister and two overactive rabbits. She holds a PhD in English Literature from Victoria University of Wellington, and teaches English, Film, and Media Studies. Her short fiction has appeared in Intergalactic Medicine Show, Daily Science Fiction, and small press anthologies. The Unlikely Escape of Uriah Heep is her debut novel.