The late seventeenth century sees the ending of Christian sectarian violence in Britain and the beginnings of effective political contract and compromise . Into this background Mr Alexander introduces a stubbornly inquisitive young protagonist who simply refuses to grow up as adults expect him too , and a wonderfully convoluted plot , at the back of which is a secular council quite as monopolistic and controlling as any religious body . There is atmosphere here , good description ( especially in the streets of London ) and some strong characters . The trilogy of which this is planned as the first part will be a very considerable construction , but in the meanwhile Piers Alexander has written a cult book awaiting its cult – a sort of John Barth/ Sot Weed Factor for this decade . We should welcome him and buy this book .