Happy Saturday, guys!
At the Table of Wolves came out earlier in July, and I was lucky enough to receive an ARC to review it.
It's an intriguing world set in the mid-1930s, where supernatural powers will help influence the world events we know to be true. It's the start of a truly inventive world.
Read on for more!
Published August 1st 2017 by Saga Press (first published July 11th 2017)
Format read: ARC via publisher
In 1936, there are paranormal abilities that have slowly seeped into the world, brought to the surface by the suffering of the Great War. The research to weaponize these abilities in England has lagged behind Germany, but now it’s underway at an ultra-secret site called Monkton Hall.
Kim Tavistock, a woman with the talent of the spill—drawing out truths that people most wish to hide—is among the test subjects at the facility. When she wins the confidence of caseworker Owen Cherwell, she is recruited to a mission to expose the head of Monkton Hall—who is believed to be a German spy.
As she infiltrates the upper-crust circles of some of England’s fascist sympathizers, she encounters dangerous opponents, including the charismatic Nazi officer Erich von Ritter, and discovers a plan to invade England. No one believes an invasion of the island nation is possible, not Whitehall, not even England’s Secret Intelligence Service. Unfortunately, they are wrong, and only one woman, without connections or training, wielding her talent of the spill and her gift for espionage, can stop it.
- Set in WWII
- Involve supernatural powers
- With fierce heroines
So when I realized At the Table of Wolves had all three, I immediately knew that this was the book for me.
Author Kay Kenyon introduces us to Kim Tavistock, an American woman who has the talent of spill, or the ability to make others confess their darkest secrets. She's in Britain working as a journalist, but is drawn into a case to expose a potential German spy. However, there are many players in this game of cat and mouse, and Kim finds herself caught up with individuals and situations she never expected...
At the Table of Wolves was described as a cross between John le Carré and X-Men, and I could definitely feel tones of the latter echoing throughout the book. The powers described by Kenyon have an obvious genesis - they were developed from the trauma of the Great War - which dovetails neatly with how some of the X-Men developed their powers.
Because the powers are borne out of trauma, they're often treated with confusion and suspicion, a theme that Kenyon explores deftly throughout the book via Kim and the secondary characters. Most of those with powers struggle with the idea of having a certain set of responsibilities and obligations that those around them don't need to concern themselves with, impacting their actions and their thinking as a result. It's not surprising that as a consequence, there are those who can be convinced to use their powers for the Germans.
As Kim delves deeper and deeper into trying to figure who the Germany spy is, Kenyon does a deft job of increasing the action and the stakes. We realize that seemingly inconsequential characters are all interwoven into this plot, with the ramifications even greater than possibly imagined. There's a neatness to how many layers Kenyon has put into her plot, and the inevitable payoff is thrilling, and worth it.
Kim herself is a sharp heroine who isn't afraid to take on unknown odds, and joins the rank of fierce heroines that all readers will look up to. Highly recommend, full stop.
About the author:
Kay Kenyon is the author of thirteen science fiction and fantasy novels as well as numerous short stories. Her work has been shortlisted for the Philip K. Dick and the John W. Campbell Memorial Awards, the Endeavour Award, and twice for the American Library Association Reading List awards. She is a founding member of the Write on the River conference in Wenatchee, WA where she lives with her husband.