The Oversight is a group pledged to guard the border between the normal, 'natural' world and the supernatural one. Once there were many members but now their numbers have dropped to dangerously low levels - in fact there are only 5 of them, the bare minimum necessary - and their enemies are ready to take advantage of this weakness. When a girl with strange gifts is brought to the Oversight's safe house, they hope they may have found a new member - but she's being manipulated by shadowy figures, enemies of the Oversight, and has been sent to steal one of the Oversight's most valued possessions
Set in Victorian London, this story (first of a series) is a bit like 'if Dickens did fantasy'- the fog-bound streets, the murky Thames, shady characters lurking on corners, an urchin-like group of adopted boys and the travelling fair folk all feel like elements of one of his stories. It's an atmosphere just waiting for a touch of supernatural... and The Oversight has plenty of it. I loved the mix of historical and fantastical elements, and of the way the supernatural elements were hidden almost in plain sight amongst the crowded streets of London. The members of the Oversight may appear as normal as you or I, but they have special gifts - an ability to read minds perhaps or to see and hear the history of a place through touching a wall. And pitched against them are a range of enemies from the scientifically curious to gruesome half-humans.
It plunges directly into the story, in an attention-grabbing way - a man carrying a bound and gagged girl over his shoulder and taking her to be sold! You can read the opening chapters here on Orbit's website, and maybe they'll have you hooked too!
As the first of a series, there's obviously more to come but also more backstory waiting to be revealed. I can't wait to read what happens next!
Maryom's review - 4.5 stars
Publisher - Orbit
Genre - Fantasy