Jackdaw has inherited a house in the Lake District and moves Sadie in with her – a new start in a place where there is no danger of the ‘missing’ girl being recognised, and a place where they can try to recover from the confrontation with Elizabeth Báthory. It may be a run down, fire-damaged old cottage with a violently overgrown garden, but it is home now and Jack is determined to make the best of it.
Felix may be gone, but the changes that his contact had on Jack are evident in both her appearance and behaviour, more than enough to cause concern in those nearest to her.
In the past, Edward Kelley, scientist, researcher and sorcerer, finds himself robbed, beaten and left at the abode of a wealthy and mysterious Venetian.
The Secrets of Blood and Bone is the second book in this series and in this instalment we have a much stronger offering. The writing is more confident, the two narrative threads well crafted and the characters and their individual stories much more grounded in their surroundings.
There is a lovely introduction to each of the Lake District chapters giving the reader an almost poetic image of Jack’s new surroundings. This works well to ground the reader but also serve as a strong opposite to the tensions and dangers Jack and Sadie face while they are there. For the chapters in the past, Edward Kelley’s journal entries and research are used, and the contrasting epilogues help locate the reader between 16th century Venice and 21st century England.
Some strong flashes of other popularised supernatural fiction of modern times become intrusively evident on occasion, but that aside Alexander offers an enjoyable read which carries a good amount of tension and conflict throughout to an intense ending that will pave the way well into the next in the series.