Award-winning novelist Elizabeth Knox's 17th title is genre-bending, full of action and sometimes hard to pin down, but, ultimately, The Absolute Book is an epic fantasy for the current moment, crossing continents and worlds.
The story opens with the murder of Taryn Cornick's sister and a mysterious revenge, and follows Taryn--now the author of an esteemed book about threats to libraries and the things they hold--on a journey to track down a mysterious scroll box known as the Firestarter, blamed for many library fires, including one in her own grandparents' library. But Taryn never dreamed that the events set off by her grief and anger at losing her sister would lead her beyond the edges of the world itself.
With a cold case, an undiagnosable illness, several mysteries, a detective who cannot let past events stay in the past, and a strong but simultaneously subtle bent toward ecocriticism, Knox (The Vintner's Luck) presents a thriller hybrid, a cop drama woven through a literary and historical mystery. She threads the contemporary present into a new take on the world of the Sidhe with hints of Norse mythology, and a hodgepodge of other legends and stories thrown into the mix. Yet the power Knox plays with most is the idea of writing things down, of books, the inherent power in different kinds of knowledge, and who is allowed to speak through it. The Absolute Book is a layered, fascinating, alluring mediation in the genre of epic fantasy, crafted by a master storyteller. --Michelle Anya Anjirbag, freelance reviewer