Saturnalia in Aufleur is a time of topsy-turvy revels, of the world turned upside down. The city’s theatres produce an annual display of reversals and surprises. Women can transform into wolves. Even the rats are not what they seem.
Evie has travelled to Aufleur to uncover the city’s sinister secrets… but this newspaper reporter has secrets of her own.
As she befriends the dazzling cabaret performers of the mysterious Vittorina Royale theatre, she falls under the spell of their most charismatic celebrities: songbird Livilla and the Stagemaster Poet. Who is Garnet, and why is everyone so afraid of him? What are the secrets of the Creature Court? Evie thought she wanted to learn the truth, but now she just wants to get out of Aufleur alive.
If you enjoy intrigue, devastating plot twists, LGBT characters and sumptuous detail, you’ll adore this gaslamp fantasy novella inspired by Paris theatre, Ancient Rome and the Roaring 20s.
I recently read prequel novella Cabaret of Monsters (Creature Court, #0.5) by Australian author Tansy Raynar Roberts.
The protagonist Evie is also known as the Storyteller and travels to Aufluer as a reporter the cover the fashionable and famous theatrical scene.
Evie is quickly embraced by the theatrical group run by the mysterious Stagemaster Poet at the Vitoria Royale theatre as the troupe prepares for the famous Aufleur Saturnalia plays. Evie has an ulterior motive for being in the Vitoria Royale as she discovers more about the man Garnet, the strange history of returned songbird Livilia. But Evie can’t help but learn to feel for the members of the troupe and her real reason for being in Aufleur causes internal conflict as she learns more about the Creature Court and its hold over the city.
A well-written dark Gaslamp novella set in a 1920s-esque era that is dark, mysterious and dangerous. A truly unique plot and well-crafted characters.
Highly recommended for fans of dark fantasy, Gaslamp themes, paranormal and supernatural tales set in an intoxicating 1920s style world.