The Lives Of Others
Release Date: OUT NOW! 432 pages | Hardback/ ebook Author: Claire North Publisher: Orbit
Kepler doesn’t exist in corporeal form. Or rather, Kepler exists in multiple corporeal forms. That’s because it ( not he or she, you note) is essentially a soul that became detached from its own body at the moment of death and has subsequently jumped from human body to human body.
As thieves go, Kepler is gentle. Although the personalities of those it inhabits are temporarily snuffed out by its presence, Kepler cares for the bodies of its hosts – even loves them in its way. But not everyone regards Kepler as benign. When one of its hosts, Josephine Cebula, is assassinated, Kepler realises its own existence might too be snuffed out…
What follows is a thriller that pulls off the considerable trick of following up North’s acclaimed reincarnation- as- Groundhog Day novel, The First Fifteen Lives Of Harry August, without ever seeming tricksy. Instead, as we follow Kepler’s odyssey in a novel written rather in the breathless style of an airport thriller, North ratchets up the tension and action.
Just as importantly, she makes us care about Kepler as she explores the consequences of its actions. Plus, beyond the high- concept premise, there are other tidy ideas. Kepler, for instance, sometimes works as an “estate agent” who sources bodies for others of its kind.
The plot occasionally slows but, really, how can you not love a novel that contains the sentence, “I went for a walk in someone discreet”? Jonathan Wright Claire North ( aka Catherine Webb/ Kate Griffin) is learning Mandarin. This means she watches a lot of kung fu movies.