I skipped over other people’s comments on this until I had read it myself. And now that I have, all I can really say is … what he said. Read it. It is astonishingly good. One particular reason it works for me is that it hits two of my Buttons so precisely: the Sea, and Fantastical, Vast, Classical Architecture. Both of these feature in my Dreams often – at least once every couple of Months in the case of the Latter. Yes, I also found myself drawn into Piranesi’s Use of Capitals, which add a Distinct Flavour. It’s not just random; I tentatively venture that generally speaking, an adjective or noun relating to or intrinsic in the nature of the House itself is capitalised; other things are not. Thus seaweed is wet and birds are feathered, but the Statues gaze with Calm Nobility. Also – and this is just me – I like the links with another all-time fantasy favourite of mine, The Magician’s Nephew by C.S. Lewis. The book is prefaced by a quote from said Magician, Uncle Andrew – “I am the great scholar, the magician, the adept, who is doing the experiment. Of course I need subjects to do it on” – which exactly sets the theme for what is to follow. One of the characters is revealed to be called Ketterley (Uncle Andrew’s surname) and is a magician very much in the Uncle Andrew mold – not half as clever as he thinks he is, considering himself to be above all the usual human moral codes because of his art. Both the House and Lewis’s Wood Between the Worlds are quiet and deceptively lethal places, gently erasing your entire memory and sense of self if you are not careful. So, Clarke knows exactly what she is doing.