Title: The Domino Men
Author: Jonathan Barnes
Release Date: January 27, 2009
Publisher: William Morrow
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
From the dust jacket:
Henry Lamb, an amiable and anonymous file clerk, pushes paper in the Storage and Record Retrieval section of the Civil Service Archive Unit. His life has always been quiet and unremarkable—until the day he learns that he’s expected to assume the covert responsibilities of his universally despised grandfather, now lying comatose in the hospital.
Summoned to the gargantuan Ferris wheel known as the London Eye, Henry receives his orders from Dedlock, a gilled and wrinkled old gentleman eternally floating in a pool of amniotic fluid. London, it seems, is at war, resisting an apocalyptic fate foisted upon it by a long-dead queen. A shadowy organisation known (to very few) as the Directorate wishes to recruit Henry to the cause. All he has to do is find “the girl” and save the world from the monster Leviathan, who can already taste the succulent metropolis that will soon be his to devour…
I don’t read much fantasy, but the premise of The Domino Men appealed to me for some reason. I generally enjoy books that are set in our world but uncover something going on just beneath the surface that we aren’t necessarily aware of. The Domino Men imagines a rich and complicated conflict going on behind the scenes between a group called the Directorate and none other than the House of Windsor.
It was this detail that really drew me to The Domino Men. I thought it was at once absolutely hilarious and incredibly creative. I knew that someone who had the imagination to come up with the members of the House of Windsor (albeit, they are different than the actual people – the heir to the throne is Prince Arthur) as scary and cruel enemies would write a wonderful book, and I was right. I thoroughly enjoyed The Domino Men; I was actually surprised at how much I was sucked into the storyline and how quickly the pages turned.
The Domino Men is very well written and unbelievably creative. It’s as funny as it is interesting. I was surprised by the mixed reviews I found, especially those on Amazon.com. I’m not sure if it’s that the people reading this book compared it to Barnes’ earlier and more popular novel The Somnambulist or if this book just isn’t that good for the genre. The fact is, though I’m not a regular reader of fantasy novels, I thoroughly and completely enjoyed this book.
I highly recommend The Domino Men if you aren’t familiar with fantasy novels. The book has a literary quality that fiction readers would enjoy. While it is just a tad bit long, I definitely think this is a novel worth reading – it’s extremely clever and a lot of fun!
Thank you to the publisher for sending me this book to review!