I’ve been waiting impatiently for Natasha Pulley to write another book featuring the all-knowing Keita Mori and synesthetic Thaniel Steepleman, first introduced in The Watchmaker of Filigree Street. The characters were too good and too original to be one-offs. The Lost Future of Pepperharrow brings the lovers to Mori’s homeland, Japan, where events seem to be spiraling into open war between Russia and Japan.
We learned in The Watchmaker of Filigree Street that Mori has the ability to remember the future. Yes, you read that correctly. Mori remembers the future and is able to manipulate events to achieve his goals. These manipulations are small, usually in the form of a word dropped in someone’s ear or a meeting between two people who will achieve great things. In spite of (and because of) this awesome power, Mori lives a low-key life with Thaniel in London with their adopted daughter, Six. But, as The Lost Future of Pepperharrow opens, Mori is beginning to make things move. The only problem is, this time, he can’t remember why. All he can remember is that it has something to do with microscopes.
As they do when Mori is involved, events begin to conspire around the pair. The growing crisis leads the Foreign Office to dispatch Thaniel to Tokyo to translate for the British legation, with Six in tow, at the same time that Mori returns from his mysterious errands in St. Petersburg and Paris. Even though the three travel together to Japan, it isn’t long before plans laid years ago start to pull them apart. Pulley ratchets up the tension throughout the novel by revealing that Mori’s future memory is getting worse. Without Mori’s deft control on events and no clear goal in sight, no one really knows what’s going to happen. Thaniel has hope that it’s all going to work out for the best but he’s the only one. Worse, Mori is facing up against a very bad man who has just become Prime Minister. The Minister is spoiling for a fight against a world power and a way to replicate Mori’s ability so that Japan can become a great empire.
I was on tenterhooks for most of the book. I just had to know how things would end up in the end. The Lost Future of Pepperharrow was beautifully plotted, with twists and turns that seemed so impossible I couldn’t imagine any way out for the fantastically drawn characters. This book was definitely worth the wait.