After 11-year-old Mark moves with his ill mother and hated stepfather to the English resort town Brighton, he discovers that their new house holds a secret: in the long unused servants' quarters, the past is alive, and the servants are still at work. To restore harmony to his home, Mark has to venture into the servants' quarters and fix what has broken.
For young Mark, the world has turned as bleak and gray as the Brighton winter. Separated from his real father and home in London, he's come to live with his mother and her new husband in an old house near the sea. He spends his days alone, trying to master the skateboard, while other boys his age are in school. He hates the unwanted stepfather who barged into Mark's life to rob him of joy. Worst of all, his once-vibrant mother has grown listless and weary, no longer interested in anything beyond her sitting room. But on a damp and chilly evening, an accident carries Mark into the basement flat of the old woman who lives at the bottom of his stepfather's house. She offers tea, cakes, and sympathy . . . and the key to a secret, bygone world. Mark becomes caught up in the frenetic bustle of the human machinery that once ran a home, and drawn ever deeper into a lost realm of spirits and memory. Here below the suffocating truths, beneath the pain and unhappiness, he finds an escape, and quite possibly a way to change everything, A richly evocative, poignantly beautiful modern-day ghost story, The Servant s marks the triumphant return of Michael Marshall Smith--the first novel in a decade from the multiple award-winning author of Spares,
A hefty lot for any author to manage, but Smith does it both subtly and charmingly. -- Santa Fe New Mexican on THE SERVANTS
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