Tuesday, November 4, 2014

The Steady Running of the Hour by Justin Go

I could not stop reading The Steady Running of the Hour, this first novel by Justin Go. There is history and mystery, romance and epistolary (letter writing). The novel is compelling on many levels and much better written than my second sentence. I want to write something brief about this book and leave you to discover it for yourself. I do not want to give too much away.

The novel can be described as a quest novel. The narrative alternates between two time periods and main characters. Ashley Walsingham is an English mountaineer and a World War I veteran. In 1924,  he dies while trying to reach the summit of Mount Everest. He leaves his fortune to his former lover, Imogen, a woman he has not seen since she left him during the war. His lawyers can not find her and the estate is unclaimed.

"The letter came by courier last week." So writes Tristan Campbell, in the first sentence of the book. He is a young American college graduate, who is notified by a British law firm that he may be the heir to a fortune. Nearly eighty years have passed and only a few weeks remain before the trust expires. New information has led the law firm to Tristan who must find evidence of his relationship to Imogen to claim the trust. Conditions of the trust require that he not reveal his search or its purpose to anyone, so Tristan must search alone and unaided.

In the course of the two narratives, the reader is transported throughout Europe, "From London archives to Somme battlefields to the Eastfjords of Iceland..." The book is written with excellent attention to detail of places and a fine understanding of the multiple characters.  The Steady Running of the Hour is an story of adventure told with sensitivity. I found it hard to put down. I look forward to more from Justin Go.

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