Solaris, out now
An ambitious fantasy tale of Dark Time, and those who seek to control it.
The Night Clock is the first novel by Paul Meloy, already known as an accomplished short story writer. Phil Trevena is a divorced psychiatric nurse, dealing with the everyday frustrations of a boss he considers an idiot and a daughter he fears is out of control. His patients start dying, and he finds himself and his methods being questioned.
As he seeks to make sense of events, he meets Daniel – and finds out he’s part of a war for control of the Night Clock, which controls Dark Time. The enemy are known as the Autoscopes, and they seek dominion over the Night Clock so that they can destroy all reality. Phil finds himself ranged against them, alongside the Firmament Surgeons, in a battle for supremacy.
Ultimately, The Night Clock paints a vivid, wildly ambitious picture of a supernatural war for control of what essentially amounts to the imagination. As we learn more of the Night Clock, and the Firmament Surgeons, we are drawn into an engrossing story that works well – at the beginning, though, it’s easy to become confused as the narrative is a tad muddled at times. There are many characters being introduced, and events seeded that are relevant later, and it’s only as the tale unfolds that things begin to make a weird kind of sense and we see the sheer scale of the story.
Meloy is an excellent writer, and when he’s in full flow the novel flies – The Night Clock is definitely worth a read, and it’ll be interesting to see what the author comes up with next.
Verdict: A glimpse into the nightmarish world of the Night Clock, controller of Dark Time. 8/10