Smoke, by Dan Vyleta


(I do not own this image. Image belongs to Doubleday.)


Dan Vyleta is an award-winning author who has lived in several different countries, and has been compared to everyone from Kafka to Hitchcock. His newest novel is Smoke.

In an isolated England, people with wicked thoughts or deeds are marked by the Smoke that pours from their bodies. The upper class do not Smoke—they have the right to rule by this proof of their virtue. The lower classes are fallen, and their Smoke is proof of their sin. At least that’s what they say, and have said for years.

But at an elite boarding school for the upper class, where professors have ties to powerful warring political factions, a field trip to London teaches some of the students that things are not how they say they are. And this knowledge could cost Charlie and Thomas their lives, unless they can find a way to escape and unleash their knowledge.

Smoke is an England different from this one, but the setting still feels familiar, if slightly out-of-kilter. While the setting is gritty and dark, this novel raises—and strives to answer—questions about the nature of sin, as well as questions about a society that would struggle to keep something like Smoke in force.

(Galley provided by Doubleday via NetGalley.)

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