Circus conjurer Cornelius Quaint is having a rough go of it.
Having escaped Egypt with his companion Madame Destine, he is forever changed and not just because of his immortality. He knows that an attempt on the life if Queen Victoria will be made and that all of humanity is at risk.
Cho-Zen Li, a man that is more than he seems, has unleashed the Eleventh Plague and Quaint must first save the Queen and then the world. With a few of his trusted circus family in tow, Quaint must travel from his beloved London to China and take care of Cho-Zen Li personally if he has any hope of saving the world.
Madame Destine, a true phsycic gifted with visions, tells Quaint that he must not go, that he will face more than danger there. “The immortal man meets the eternal man at the end of his life.” She tells him. She does not know if that means even Quaint’s immortality will keep him alive.
After being chosen by Queen Victoria to do away with Cho-Zen Li, however, Quaint has no choice. With a few of his circus family in tow, Quaint sets off towards China, towards his destiny, towards a future that could bring about the end of the world or just the end of his life.
All in a days work for a master conjurer…
My meagre plot summary doesn’t even come close to scratching the surface of what happens in this novel. Out of the entire Cornelius Quaint Series, The Lazarus Curse is by far the most adventurous with more twists and hairpin plot turns than you can count. The book is non-stop action from the first page and the story doesn’t let you go until the (very shocking) ending.
To say I was salivating for this book is an understatement. When I was finally able to read it, it blew all of my high expectations away, every single one of them. Craske’s most amazing ability is creating characters that should be caricatures and stereotypes, but aren’t. He writes them so well that you actually care for them, hope for them, worry right along with them.
I haven’t been this emotionally involved in a series of books since Harry Potter or The Hunger Games. Are The Cornelius Quaint Chronicles better? You bet your last farthing. Not only are they told in the style of old Victorian penny dreadfuls, but they are adventure novels of the highest calibre.
Just when you think the story is going one way, it takes you in a different and altogether surprising direction. Craske not only creates amazing characters that you grow to love, he pens a cracking good story that will have you clutching the book and turning the pages rapidly (or in my case, holding onto my iPad for dear life and flicking my finger across the screen in rapid motions).
For those of you who have not read the previous Cornelius Quaint novels (A Quaint Christmas, The Equivoque Principle and The Eleventh Plague, respectively) never fear. Craske fills you in on what you need to know so you can throw yourself headlong into the adventure contained The Lazarus Curse. After reading The Lazarus Curse, however, you will want to, no, need to read the other books in the series.
Darren Craske has not only written a tale of magic, adventure, destiny and fate. He has written a novel that will live beyond time itself and it’s one of the best books I have ever read and indeed its my favourite book of 2012 thus far. I can’t wait to see how the series draws to a close in the Rolmulus Equation.
I for one will be waiting with bated breath to find out how Cornelius Quaint’s destiny unfolds…