The Many Selves of Katherine North (2016): Emma Geen


The village where I grew up is tiny even by the usual standards of English country villages: thirty houses; a hundred residents; no shop; no pub. And yet it’s had its fair share of literary energy. Legend has it that Wilkie Collins started writing The Moonstone at the Manor House; Dick King-Smith used to live down the other lane; and now, to my surprise and delight, I see that one of my former neighbours has also published a novel. I wouldn’t say that I ever knew Emma Geen (it feels weird to refer to her solely by surname as I usually do with authors), but I still approached this book with a mixture of excitement and trepidation. And it was all rewarded. Without a shadow of partiality, I can say that this is an assured and accomplished debut: tight, edgy and thoroughly gripping; a sophisticated blend of thriller and troublingly plausible sci-fi.

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