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The City Of Invention

The book reviews of UK children's author, Brian Keaney

Exciting But Ramshackle Fantasy

The Wolf in the Attic - Paul Kearney

Set in the nineteen twenties, this is a dark fantasy about twelve year old Anna, a refugee from the Greco-Turkish war who ends up living in Oxford with her bankrupt father where she is briefly befriended by C S Lewis and J R Tolkien.


When her father is murdered without warning, she finds herself drawn into a battle between ancient forces who compete to win her allegiance. It seems that Anna is heir to a legacy stretching back to the world of Homer and beyond, and capable of powers she is only dimly aware of.


Often beautifully written and always wonderfully evocative, The Wolf In The Attic, nevertheless fails to live up to its promise. Nothing is explained properly, the overarching mythos is a jumble and the plot feels as though the writer has made it up as he went along. What are Lewis and Tolkien doing in the book, for example? They appear and are carefully drawn but then they just seem to get forgotten.


Kearney is a talented writer and the possessor of a vivid and poetic imagination. The Wolf In The Attic  is an attractive and exciting read but lack of attention to structure makes it ultimately slightly unsatisfying.