I first read this years ago – maybe when it first came out. It’s one that’s stuck with me, and when I saw the Kindle version on sale, I snapped it up.
I’m glad I did.
Some books, when you read them a second time, years later, have lost their lustre. This is not one of those books; I enjoyed it just as much as I did the first time round.
So, what did I enjoy?
All the characters are just a bit larger than life – the gentleman-thief, the actress, the sorcerer, the great detective, and so on – but not so much so that it disturbed the enjoyment of the story. They felt real – they lost their tempers, sniped at each other, and made mistakes.
There’s an awful lot of running around, and a fair number of corpses. To be fair, I think the actual plot was the weakest point of the story, because there were a few holes in it, and things just got wrapped up a bit too neatly and too quickly at the end, but…
I think this probably the main reason why Death of the Necromancer stayed with me for so many years. Wells writes the city of Ile-Rien vividly enough that I could see the dark, foggy streets in my head. It had weight and depth – it felt real.
Thinking on, this is the book by which I measure all other gaslight fantasy.