Reviewed by Matthew Johns
The titular Narrows are hidden pathways that exist alongside our own modern world.Â Bex is one of the Narrowfolk â€“ a combination of the homeless, dropouts and those who decided to reject society, who subsists by bartering for those things they cannot find, steal or rescue from garbage.Â When a friend is injured and captured by a shadowy figure, she escapes onto a train and bumps into Andy Sumner; a chance encounter that changes both of their lives irrevocably.
Andy is a foundling â€“ rescued by a police officer as a toddler from a kidnapping where he is found mysteriously covered in acupuncture needles from head to toe.Â He soon finds himself dragged into Bexâ€™s world, where the action moves from the present day, to a 1950s village preserved in time, to an alien world and back again as Andy discovers powers awakening inside him that could save the world.
The detail in Brogdenâ€™s work is astounding â€“ the novel is set in present day Birmingham, England â€“ a city that is brought to life (and made arguably more interesting on paper) expertly by the author.Â The pseudo-science/magic combination used by the Narrowfolk, Andy and his nemesis, Professor Barber is plausibly explained.
All in all, a truly gripping tale that is well worth seeking out.Â Once immersed into Bex and Andyâ€™s story, I didnâ€™t want to put the book down until Iâ€™d finished it.