Review by ScotKris.
Good news for fans of Laurie R King – August saw the first UK paperback release of her 2008 standalone novel, Touchstone, featuring FBI Agent Harris Stuyvesant, in a beautiful new edition from Allison & Busby.
Once studied by British intelligence for his excruciating sensitivity to the world’s turmoil, Bennett Grey has withdrawn from the world – until an American Bureau of Investigation agent comes to assess Grey’s potential as a weapon in a new kind of warfare. Agent Harris Stuyvesant needs Grey’s help to enter a realm where the rich and the radical exist side by side – a heady mix of power, celebrity, and sexuality that conceals the free world’s deadliest enemy. Soon Stuyvesant finds himself dangerously seduced by one woman and – even more dangerously – falling in love with another. As he sifts through secrets divulged and kept, he uncovers the target of a horrifying conspiracy, and wonders if he can trust anyone, even his touchstone.
Reviewed here back in 2008, this is a snapshot of what I said at the time:
“ …Laurie R King’s latest offering, Touchstone, a standalone novel set shortly after the Great War in locations as diverse as London and Cornwall. I must confess immediately to a preference for novels which stand by themselves away from a series; as the author says on her own blog, it gives her ‘a chance to flex her literary muscles’, with the opportunity to develop a unique selection of characters and background that support the story in its entirety. Touchstone is no exception: a rich and diverse offering which challenges the mind and demands a single-sitting reading – no easy task at 500 pages plus. Indeed, part of the pleasure of this novel is in the savouring, with the lead character of Bennett Grey a superb vehicle from whom to provide just one of the many perspectives in this book.
“Followers of Laurie R King’s blog will know how much time, care and love go into her books. No corporate publicity machine producing multiple titles each year: indeed, often eighteen months or more may pass between her books, and all are welcomed with open arms by an extremely loyal readership. With Touchstone as the latest example of how this author keeps in touch with this reader, I would always welcome a more prolific output; however, I am glad Laurie R King doesn’t feel the need to compromise in any way, and continues to produce absolute gems.”
Now, five years later, with this new edition the opportunity arrives to revisit the characters and enjoy King’s fine writing and her enviable ability to weave such fascinating stories.
Since Touchstone was first released, King has produced four consecutive instalments in her renowned Mary Russell series. Now too, at the end of September, we have The Bones of Paris, (review coming soon), which sees the return of Harris Stuyvesant. So if you haven’t yet read Touchstone, catch up now, and immerse yourself in a 1920s world with more intrigue than Poirot could ever have faced.