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re­leased oUT NoW! 416 pages | Paper­back/ebook

Author Kim New­man

Pub­lisher Ti­tan books

While there have been many fan­tasy and hor­ror sto­ries and films set in schools, there are very few writ­ten for adults that play on the clas­sic school story genre.

Given that said genre had its hey­day in roughly the same time pe­riod as the ad­ven­ture story, it’s no sur­prise that Kim New­man, with his love of pulps and ad­ven­ture tales, is the per­son to take it on – and he does so bril­liantly. The freez­ing dorms, vi­cious pre­fects (or “whips”) and unique ar­got of the school are com­mon fea­tures in such tales, as is the no­tion of a se­cret gang of plucky gels tak­ing on ne’er-do-wells. All New­man’s done is stir in a smat­ter­ing of su­per­nat­u­ral tal­ents and ex­tradi­men­sional en­ti­ties, and had fun with the tropes.

He’s also mixed in a few fa­mil­iar faces from his Dio­genes Club sto­ries, to which this novel feels very sim­i­lar in tone. It’s not as pep­pered with pop cul­ture ref­er­ences as the Anno Drac­ula books – though there are enough of those to raise a smile. The only thing that pre­vents it be­ing per­fect is the end­ing, which is a bit too Love­craftian in its lack of firm de­tail. Miriam Mc­Don­ald

The first thing New­man read that made him want to write was HG Wells’s killer squid story “The Sea Raiders”.

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