Thursday, 27 August 2015

The Steady Running of the Hour by Justin Go

A legacy, a journey of discovery across Europe, a doomed expedition up Mt Everest, star-crossed lovers and the battlefields of World War One create a heady cocktail in Justin Go’s debut novel. The story begins when Tristan, a young American just graduated from university, receives a solicitor’s letter. He has a mere two months to prove he is descended from one Imogen Soames-Andersson to inherit an eye-wateringly large estate.

Tristan had always thought Imogen was his grandmother’s aunt but finds just enough clues to suggest otherwise, but not quite enough to prove it outright. So begins a journey that will take him from London to Paris, where he meets a beguiling young woman, and even as far as Iceland. 

The chapters alternate between Tristan's story and that of Imogen, and how she meets Ashley Walsingham, the young soldier that will steal her heart. Sadly, Ashley is off to the trenches, and when he is mistakenly thought killed in battle, Imogen goes to pieces and makes a difficult decision. The two will never forget each other, even as Ashley, a gifted climber, makes a dangerous assault on the mountain that will claim his life. 

While these events are part of the story presented to Tristan at the beginning, the novel still has plenty of revelations to come and the plot never flags for a moment. I found it compelling from page one, but then who can resist the idea of a legacy about to expire and a race against the clock. The three main characters are dynamic and headstrong which helps power the story along, while the settings are both varied and vividly brought to life. The Steady Running of the Hour is one terrific if heart-breaking read.

Posted by JAM

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