Review: The Feathered Man / Author: Jeremy de Quidt / Publisher: David Fickling Books / Release Date: Out Now
The Feathered Man is a gothic horror that will put your imagination to the test. Klaus, the tooth-pullers’ assistant, is a young boy trying to survive in a world where the greed of adults dictates decisions. However, it isn’t greed that will decide how events will unfold, it's curiosity, because as the tagline suggests “Curiosity is a killing thing…”
Set in a small German port town, Klaus is unassuming as he and his employer, Herr Kusselman, are called to the house of Frau Drecht. Herr Kusselman buys the teeth of the deceased, and then uses those to replace the rotten teeth of the living. When he finds diamonds in the mouth of a dead man the narrative begins to move at quite a pace. It is the strength of this book that it can involve so many characters but never becomes confusing or seems convoluted. Each of the characters’ motives are clearly described and they believe they are in the right. Whether it’s the priest Henriquez, trying to find the answers to his spiritual questions, or the Professor of Anatomy, using his knowledge of the human body to fulfil his own curiosity. While curiosity is a theme which carries through the book, the inevitably of having to choose is made very apparent. It is the feeling that something needs to be done that drives the characters and it is those choices that will directly or indirectly decide the fate of people inadvertently caught up in these events.
The town in which the story takes place is almost like an obstacle itself with its narrow passages, tall imposing architecture and side streets inhabited by the left-overs of society. There are many times when the chases through the town are being described and the thing that stands between the characters and safety is the maze of narrow alleys. These descriptions succeed in conveying a real sense of desperation, allowing you to empathise and support the characters in their efforts to escape danger.
Jeremy de Quidt has crafted a fine gothic suspense thriller which at times becomes gruesome as well as truly creepy. The Feathered Man deserves to be read as you’ll be left satisfied by a well written story, and may think twice the next time curiosity takes hold.