Redfern’s The Music of the Spheres is a convincing and entertaining reconstruction of life in London at the time of the French Revolution. We encounter a wide range of characters – spies, doctors, shopkeepers, astronomers, prostitutes. The main protagonist, Jonathan Absey, a clerk censoring and sifting letters sent from embattled England to revolutionary France, is a muted and unheroic character.
The search for a new planet is a key theme of The Music of the Spheres – allowing the writer to introduce a different and interesting scientific dimension to the story. An unusual, French menage a trois is the focus of the celestial search, and of a series of brutal murders. The two stories unravel together.
Redfern writes in amazing and convincing detail about life in London, and has a real sense of drama. As Jonathan Absey attempts to find the murderer of his daughter we are presented with a series of possible suspects – the corrupt priest, the love sick doctor, the strange, mute Englishman – all held together by the beauty of a young French exile and her dying brother, maddened by the drugs used to kill his pain.
The Music of the Spheres was an enjoyable read, and I cruised on to the end very quickly. In essence it’s a melodrama – ending in flames and death, filled with anguish and pain, replete with sex and violence. If that’s what you like, go for it!