THE ROOK is Australian Daniel
O'Malley's first published novel but after finishing this book, you
would think it was his tenth due to how well the story flowed. The
problem with reviewing The Rook is that I have to be careful in not
spoiling the story of the main character Myfanwy Thomas who
works for a powerful Clandestine secret organisation called
Checquy that are basically the puppets of the "free world".
Another problem for those in this organisation is that once you
join... you're in it for life and only three people managed to leave
the organisation in the last two hundred years but somehow still ended up dead.
The best way to describe The Rook is
James Bond meets the supernatural which creates a very realistic
story based in modern London yet adds a healthy amount of curve
balls with its supernatural and secret agent themes. Just like the
Bourne Identity where the main character "lost" his identify,
Myfanwy is in a similar situation which creates a modern mystery.
The book starts with a bang where
Myfanwy awakes in park and discovers that all the dead bodies around
her are wearing gloves. With no recollection of what happened or who
is she is, she discovers a letter from herself that helps put her
jigsaw pieces of a life together again. These letters to herself
reminds me of the film Total Recall which had a similar premise and works quite well in giving a
historical account of Myfanwy's previous life.
In essence, The Rook has two main
characters as O'Malley litters the novel with notes from Myfanwy to
herself throughout the book. This serves to inform the reader of
what came before and questions you in thinking that Myfanwy is
actually setting herself up and using herself... maybe. Early on in the novel,
Myfanwy is given a choice from herself to either flee the country,
change her identity and live a "normal" life or investigate who
wants her dead in Checquy. Myfanwy chooses the later.
With action, high drama and a touch of
comedy laced throughout the book, The Rook will leave you
questioning the sincerity of the letters from Myfanwy to herself
that definitely rattles our heroine to core at the times. Even
though the Checquy are a relatively noble organisation, the
conspiracy that Myfanwy has discovered is rotten to their core.
O'Malley should be commended as a
writer because this was one book that I could not put down. However
one word of note, the novel does start a little slow but once it
finds it feet, you'll be joining the confused heroine Myfanwy Thomas
on this rollercoaster self-discovery as she attempts to uncover the
mystery and even finds out that vampires may exist!