Author: David Towsey
Publisher: Ad Astra
- ISBN: 9781801101653
- Published: May 2022
- Pages: 336
- Format reviewed: Hardback
- Review date: 12/05/2022
- Language: English
Are you a night person or a day person? Do you like to wake up at 5am and then go to the gym before a full day at work and an early night? Perhaps you like to wake up in time for Bargain Hunt and work from home into the late hours? Either way, you are you. The night owl and the early bird, same person, perhaps in separate phases of their life. In David Towsey’s Equinox the entire population of the land are Day People and Night People. Two separate entities that use the same body, one at day, one at night. Christophor and Alexsander have had many years to get used to sharing, even when one if a musician, the other an Inspector. When Christopher is assigned a dangerous case, even Alexander finds himself helping, lest they both be killed.
The land is on brink of war and Christophor Morden is on the brink of retirement, but before he settles down the King has assigned him a strange case. A prisoner has mutilated their own eyes, inside the sockets are teeth. Unfortunately, Christophor has seen this type of case before, and it leads to the supernatural and witchcraft. Christophor, and his Day Brother Alexsander, must visit a remote southern town close to the upcoming conflict. They are tasked with finding the witch and making them burn, but in a small-town strangers stand out. The brothers are in danger from the Witch as soon as they arrive.
Having two leads sharing the same body is a brilliant idea. This is not a form of multiple personality, but a world in which Day and Night Siblings is the norm. The start of the book follows mostly Christopher and his investigation. We learn about Alexsander more from a sense of memory. As the book develops, we get to see more from Alexsander and the action swaps over, now the reader learns about Christophor's actions through what Alexsander can recall. This tool works well as it allows a fog to obscure the mystery element of the book. Do the two brothers even trust one another?
The dual personality of every character in the book also enriches the mystery element, everyone is two suspects. Characters can be vastly different during the day and night. At night they can be married to the mayor, during the day fancy free and open to a relationship. The two sides of each person lead separate lives – bar worker/seamstress, inspector/musician. We learn that Alexander can play a vital role in finding the Witch by being able to question the Day People, but does the sibling of the Witch know that they share a body with the supernatural?
There are other aspects of the book that stand out alongside the dual characters and mystery. The character of Christophor is fascinating. He could be considered a Witchfinder General as in the past he has specialised in hunting down Witches and imposing swift and permanent justice. However, he is not all fire and fury. He believes in the law and the investigation. You get to have sympathy for a man who burns people, but you can understand the fear as in this land Witches are real and they are deadly. Some of the attacks that Christophor must survive are vicious and wonderfully gothic.
I love the fantasy genre and have read it for decades, but it is not often that I read a fantasy book that feels different. Equinox manages to be different, not only with the dual aspect of each character, but by also giving the reader sympathy for the devil. Towsey could have made the Inspector a thoroughly unlikable man, but instead he is a nuanced creation only enhanced by the relationship he has with this Day Brother. There are more layers to Equinox than your average fantasy novel and any fan of the genre will enjoy unpeeling them.
Written on 12th May 2022 by Sam Tyler .