BooksOfTheMoon

The Lost Future of Pepperharrow (The Watchmaker of Filigree Street #2)

By Natasha Pulley

Rating: 4 stars

Picking up a couple of years after The Watchmaker of Filigree Street, Thaniel and Mori are living together fairly happily (albeit with Thaniel in fairly constant fear of anyone finding out that his relationship with Mori is more than just tenant and landlord), with their adopted daughter, Six, when Thaniel, a civil servant in the Foreign Office is posted to Tokyo as a translator. The whole family goes out together, where Thaniel finds himself in the middle of a plan that Mori had kicked off years before and meets the eponymous Mrs Pepperharrow. But events spin out of control and even Mori’s foresight might not be enough to get him out of trouble.

There’s a lot to enjoy in this book. Mori’s tangled web is impossibly complicated; Japanese prime minister Kuroda is violent but competent, a former friend of Mori, who now wants to use his clairvoyance for the Japanese state. Mrs Pepperharrow is a bit of an enigma to start, but we get flashbacks to her past, and her connection to both Mori and Kuroda.

In some senses, the weak link here is Thaniel, our protagonist. He’s a bit of a wet blanket, really, moping around the place, somewhat lovelorn. He’s even got the dying of consumption down pat. When he gets out of Tokyo for a bit and does some espionage he’s a bit more fun, but he’s often quite passive – in contrast to Mrs Pepperharrow, who is a ball of quivering anger and who doesn’t hesitate to take action.

The secondary characters don’t get a huge amount of characterisation, other than Six, who’s got a sideways way of looking the world. We might say today that she’s on the autism spectrum. I enjoy reading her when she’s on the page.

It’s a twisty and complex book where things don’t slot into place until the very end, but satisfying for that. The emotional arc is especially so, with a character having a late revelation that explains a lot about their behaviour (once again: the moral of the story is to be emotionally honest with your loved ones and we wouldn’t be in this mess). Definitely worth your time (although do read Watchmaker beforehand, you’ll get much more out of it if you do).

Book details

ISBN: 9781408885147
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
Year of publication: 2021

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