Alejandro de Yepes and Jesús Rocamora, young officers in the Spanish regular army, are stationed alone at Castillo when a friendly redhead named Petrus appears out of nowhere. There is something magnetic and deeply mysterious about him. Alejandro and Jesús are bewitched, and, in the middle of the sixth year of the longest war humankind has ever endured, they abandon their post to follow him across a bridge that only he can see.Petrus brings them to a world of lingering fog, strange beings, poetry, music, natural wonders, harmony and extraordinary beauty. This is where the fate of the world and all its living creatures is decided. Yet this world too is under threat. A long battle against the forces of disenchantment is drawing to a climactic close. Will poetry and beauty prevail over darkness and death? And what role will Alejandro and Jesús play?Muriel Barbery’s richly imagined new novel, the sequel to The Life of Elves, will transport readers to a lost world exposed to the constant churn of civilisations and remind them of the power of poetry and imagination



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Some books take a little bit of extra effort from a reader, and I found this to be one of those books  BUT it is worth that work! It’s another beautifully written book from the author, and another fight of good vs evil with links to the other world as the worlds join forces to defeat those with evil intentions.

The story starts with a war, and the bond between soldiers despite their very different backgrounds. Fighting a common enemy unites them, and Alejandro and Jesus are 2 of the soldiers. And they find themselves facing even weirder times when they are confronted by 3 ‘ghosts’ who appear to have crossed the bridge from another world to warn the humans that they need to work together.

This inventive story really does have a mythical feel with the magical realism and once you get into the flow of the story it all begins to make sense.  The use of poetry helps lead you through the twisty journey that they find themselves on – the story flits about and it’s told in a mixed up way and I found this to be good at keeping you engaged and wondering what was round the corner for them!  

I also enjoyed the little touches of humour, and the way it unites what should be two very different forces with their outlook on the ways of the world.  Their experiences, their histories are all explored and I loved the gentle and soothing aspects of the story! The vivid descriptions transport you to this other world.  This is a prequel to Life of Elves but you don’t need to have read that – I think I preferred the storytelling aspect in this one than in ‘Elves’! It just made it easier to connect with for me!  Well worth immersing yourself in this book just for the beautiful way with words that Muriel Barbery has!!


My thanks to Gallic for the advanced copy of the book in return for a fair and honest review.