No one would have believed, in the year of Our Lord fifteen hundred and sixty-two, that this World was being watched by intellects far greater and more cunning than Man’s own. That as Man busied himself about his various concerns, he was being scrutinised and studied. With infinite complacency, Man went to and fro over the Globe, about his paltry affairs, serene in his assurance of his Empire over Matter.
No one gave a thought to the older Worlds of Space as sources of danger and threat; or thought of them only to dismiss the idea of life upon them as grave heresy. Yet across the gulfs of the Outer Dark, minds that are to our minds as ours are to those of the beasts that gleam and whirr, regarded the Earth with envious eyes, and slowly, and surely, their Plan for us was fulfilled.
Please excuse the gratuitous H.G. Wells – I couldn’t resist playing around with the opening paragraphs of The War of the Worlds to announce this, Mr Jarvis’ first and only foray into science fiction. And what a foray it is. Deathscent is a glorious, gilded marvel, quite unlike anything we’ve seen so far on this project, and yet so deeply Robin Jarvis that it could never be mistaken for anything else.
From the fading rose gardens of Malmes-Wutton to the splendour and magnificence of the Court of Elizabeth Regina, we now embark upon our voyage through the Reflected Realm. Wonders of motive science shall we learn; devils and angels shall we encounter; secrets alchemical and astrological shall we be privy to; and dire perils shall we face ‘ere the fires take us.
Deathscent was published in 2001 by Harper Voyager. It is available on ebook, but I’d advise finding a physical copy second-hand to get the full experience of the book’s meticulous design. (For the devoted collector, there’s a signed first edition with a rare promotional booklet going on Biblio at the moment, but regular hardbacks are fairly easy to find, and the paperbacks are just as well-designed.) There is also quite a lot of complimentary material for this book on Mr Jarvis’ site, most infamously this extremely eerie trailer.