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Summary

Todd Fremde is an author, a writer of police procedurals and criminal mysteries. 

Invited to the remote island of Dearth, far across the Dream Archipelago, to talk at a conference, he finds himself caught up in a series of mysteries. 

How can Dearth claim to be completely crime-free yet still have an armed police force? Why are they so keen for him to appear but so dismissive when he arrives? Is his sense of time confused, or is something confusing happening to time itself?

And how does this all connect with a murder committed on his home island, 10 years before and seemingly forgotten? 

Fremde's investigation and research will lead him to some dangerous conclusions.... 

©2020 Christopher Priest (P)2020 Orion Publishing Group

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Things are not what they seem...

I was intrigued by the blurb I had read beforehand and expected to be unable to follow the story or to be mystified. Instead I found the twists and turns highly entertaining and I loved the surprise ending. I strongly advise anyone wavering with indecision to just 'go with the flow' of this delightful detective story. Oh, and brilliant tongue-in-cheek writing and narration.

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Another absorbing tale from the Dream Archipelago

This was a lot of fun, a great take on the crime novel through the eyes of a crime novelist trying desperately (and failing) to not become an amateur sleuth himself. Also the Dream Archipelago is such a great idea so I enjoyed reading another story set there. Very good narration too, suited the story and characters perfectly.

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  • Tezby
  • 12-11-20

An odd return to the Dream Archipelago...

Two key things to know about this book: you don't need to have read any of the other Dream Archipelago series to read The Evidence. Like all the other books in series, it's self contained and requires no previous knowledge to enjoy. The other thing to know is that the plot summary is misleading - it really only describes the first few chapters. Yes, the main character is a crime novelist who visits an island in the Archipelago that boasts no crime... but that is just the beginning. The Evidence on its own merits is an odd book. Once the narrator is back home, he becomes consumed with a 'who did it' inquiry into a crime committed ten years before. He pieces it all together with the help of a cop with uncertain motivations and hidden back story. The prose is marked by a distinct feel of 'telling not showing' in that the narrator describes things that have happened, or second hand, and while I enjoyed it, there is an odd alienation effect from what is otherwise the main thrust of the plot. We are witnessing the telling of the story, not the story itself. The other strange aspect of The Evidence is that the writer discusses genre fiction - its pros and cons, and whether readers prefer plot or character and so on, seen from the perspective of a crime writer. There is also extended description of the writing process, from how the author prefers his home office, to research, to agents and so on, and at some crucial stages, the believability of certain tropes, such as the twin or double in fiction. Threaded through this is a concept that is both classic Priest and the kind of thing that has kept me engaged in the Dream Archipelago stories from The Affirmation onwards. To describe it would be to give the main idea of the book away, and most of the pleasure in The Evidence is thinking through how this concept is affecting not just the story, but the way it's being told. The Dream Archipelago is a place that is a mirror or double of our own world, very similar, but also very different. The protagonist of The Evidence [if such a passive character can be called proactive] is Priest's double: a genre writer who lives with his partner on an obscure island, hugely popular to his readers, but not so well known in the mainstream. Like many of Priest's characters, he's creative, but also pedantic - there are long descriptions of the writer's computer for example - but this is just the kind of eccentricity I love in these books. If you're like me, and love the uncanny dreaminess of the Dream Archipelago, then it's worth noting this is a very different kind of story. It's very self aware, ironic and wryly humorous, but it didn't weave the same spell produced by The Affirmation, The Islanders or The Gradual. Put it this way - if you like obtuse metafictions set in an alternative world, then this is for you! By the way, welcome back Michael Maloney as the narrator of the audio book. He's got a great tone, and almost perfect delivery, and the ideal voice to tell these stories.