Darkness Visible by Pip Janssen

Rating 8.0/10
A compelling story of stamina, strength and growth.

In an alternate version of London in 1895, a few talented people can travel instantly between locations through Thresholds - tears in the fabric of reality. Lord Henry Lewis is a Warden, working to close dangerous Thresholds to prevent the sickness that flows from the darkness outside reality. William Marsh loses his family to the sickness when several undirected Thresholds are opened in his home. Marsh has the born talent to open Thresholds, and Lord Lewis's superiors order him to train the young man. Their relationship is strained, but they slowly come to rely on each other. The number of rogue Thresholds is increasing and times are dangerous. Lewis and Marsh discover that a cult, disillusioned by the scientific advances of the age, is opening the rogue Thresholds to destroy mankind. As London falls into darkness, they must race against time to stop the end of the world.

I found this book to be a very interesting read, the book is set in Victorian London and follows the exploits of Lord Henry Lewis, the sixth Earl of Gloucestershire. Although, when reading the first chapter I did think that the protagonist was a woman, because of the way they spoke of themselves it soon became clear that this was a man of wealth and position, who due to suffering short man syndrome didn't let people forget who he was.

Lord Lewis is also what is known in this story as a Venturer. A venturer is someone who can create a reality threshold (literally rip a hole in reality to get to another destination) by focusing their mind on the place they would like to appear, which means they have instantaneous transportation around the world. As this book is written about the time of the British Empire you can imagine this being a highly valued skill, but with this form of transportation there is a great deal of fear felt by the people who do not have this luxury as well as jealousy and hatred which would mean you wouldn't go about boasting of being one to just anyone.

Lord Lewis, as part of the London Wardens, closes reality thresholds which have not been properly formed, which create voids that allow unreality to seep in. These voids can cause in ordinary people sickness, madness and even death if left open too long. On his travels he gets mixed up with the fortunes of the Marsh family.

Pip Janssen has written a compelling story of stamina, strength and growth. Lord Lewis gets to test all of these in his journey and even whilst he is striving to be a lone wolf he is surrounded by a cast of characters that fit into his life so well that he barely notices how much he relies on them at first. I wonder if there will be more Lord Lewis adventures in the future as this London feels realistic and the characters that surround Lord Lewis are well written with definable characteristics.

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