The Rook, by Daniel O’Malley
This is a novel about adventures on her Majesty’s supernatural secret service, and the author telling the tale has an imagination with no limits. Anything and everything goes as these agents come up against unpredictable, supernatural foes and forces all requiring action in order to protect the blissfully ignorant public. Fortunately these agents are armed not just with their wits and common weaponry; they have their own diverse supernatural abilities.
“Dear You, The body you are wearing used to be mine. . .” At the beginning of the book, this mysterious letter is read by a young woman who inhabits the body of an agent who was working for good. Myfanwy Thomas is her Welsh name (pronounced like Tiffany). The new Myfanwy comes conscious in the agent’s body for the first time in a London park, surrounded by dead bodies that are all wearing latex gloves. What’s a girl to do? She follows the limited guidance contained in the ominous letter. This is the beginning of a fast-paced action novel. Circumstances force the new Myfanwy to learn how to take on and succeed in her responsibilities as a Rook, which is a high-level operative in the secret British government agency that protects the world.
There is a lot to learn from a series of well-hidden letters and other clues from the former Myfanwy, which were intentionally left hidden for her successor. The new Myfanwy has no memory at all of what has happened before the moment in the London park. The letters are a help to her, and to the reader throughout the book, as you both try to understand this new world and how to survive. You both learn so much too about the former Myfanwy as the letters go on, and how the new Myfanwy is different too. Reading the letter clues at the same time as the heroine, you’ll feel directly a part of the action.
But time is of the essence when dangers are all around, including covert dangers within the agency itself. Myfanwy must stop her unknown enemy before being destroyed herself. She can’t just spend her time reading letters, she has to think and act for herself. She also has to learn how to control and use her own interesting, supernatural powers. There’s a lot to take on while handling her day-to-day job activities. This book is suspenseful, mysterious, funny, and action packed.
The author has a master’s degree in medieval history and in his other life he works for the Australian Transport Safety Bureau writing press releases for government investigations of plane crashes and runaway boats. In this debut work he has created a complex, unique, logical, imaginative and entertaining paranormal fantasy where you have license to let your own imagination run wild.
Thereby hangs a tale . . . .
– By Wendy Kendall
Wendy Kendall is a writer, project manager and volunteer at the Edmonds Library. She’s enjoyed living in Edmonds for over 20 years. Follow her via her blog here or on Twitter @wendywrites1.