If there is a problem with The Revo-lutions, it’s that the novel contains too many ideas; just when it appears that it’s settling down into an engrossing account of a covert war among magicians in Victorian London, it starts focusing on another world entirely. Both parts are wonderful, and the interaction between them is strong, but by the end Gilman is left summing up the fates of seemingly important characters in asides. It’s hard not to wish for more of each strand of the story, but overall the balancing act does work, and the result is rich, strange and compelling.
Arthur Shaw and Josephine Bradman are in love. Unfortunately the biggest storm London’s seen in years has wiped out Arthur’s job, and while trying to make ends meet, they’ll both wind up involved with magical cabals, in severe bodily and spiritual danger and maybe even separated from each other by the gulf of space. Luckily, neither are without their own resources. (TOR, Apr., 416 pp., $26.99)