Photographer Cass Neary is desperate to get home, and she's already lost her camera -- like losing a limb. Now her only chance is to cash in on a deal that a friend is about to cut for a legendary illuminated manuscript: "The Book of Lamps and Banners". Rumored to have been rescued from the Library at Alexandria, the Book is said to contain ancient esoteric knowledge, even an otherworldly power.
It’s a wild ride that defies comparison: pill-popping idealist Cass Neary’s obsessive hunt piles on teeth-grinding, story-propelling tension, and Hand’s gifted portrayal of subcultures seamlessly links Cass’ past in New York’s ’80s punk scene, London’s rare-book dealers, and Odinist neo-Nazis.
Hand’s desolate descriptions and Cass’s larger-than-life persona help to carry a story that is not as intricately plotted as her 2019 stand-alone, Curious Toys, with a few characters not fully fleshed out. Still, followers of the series will be happy to see Cass return.
Cass Neary is a tough, self-destructive character who still exudes compassion, courage, and love for the beauty and the pain of life—even more so because she recognizes its impermanence ... Part The Club Dumas, part The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, all punk attitude and beautiful ache.