The Oversight

The Oversight : A mystery of witch-hunters, magicians and mirror-walkers

3.73 (1,910 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

Only five still guard the borders between the worlds. Only five hold back what waits on the other side. Once the Oversight, the secret society that polices the lines between the mundane and the magic, counted hundreds of brave souls among its members. Now their number can be tallied on a single hand. When a drunkard brings a screaming girl to the Oversight's London headquarters, it seems their hopes for a new recruit will be fulfilled - but the girl is a trap, her appearance a puzzle the five remaining guardians must solve or lose each other, and their society, for good. As the borders between the natural and the supernatural begin to break down, brutal murders erupt across the city, the Oversight are torn viciously apart, and their enemies close in for the final blow. This dark Dickensian fantasy spins a tale of witch-hunters, magicians, mirror-walkers and the unlikeliest of heroes drawn from the depths of British folklore. Meet the Oversight, and remember: when they fall, so do we all. 'Exciting, exhilarating, scary and moving in equal measure, The Oversight is a teeming world of dark deeds and dark magics, brilliantly realised. This feels like the start of something amazing' M.
R. Carey, author of THE GIRL WITH ALL THE GIFTS 'Told in a kind of compelling and hypnotic poesie that I just lapped up ...I'll certainly be reading the next one' Cory Doctorow, BoingBoing.net 'The Oversight is - and let's be clear here - something very special ...It's oh so moreish a morsel. I'd read a prequel this evening, a sequel as soon as.' Niall Alexander, Tor.com 'A highly entertaining fantasy that promises a trilogy worth sinking your teeth into' SciFiNow 'Fletcher's Victorian London is juicily vivid, and laced with macabre Dickensian wit. There's a real sense of grim danger, both natural and unnatural, hungrily awaiting the slightest mis-step' Frances Hardinge 'Richly atmospheric (the evil lurks in the background of every paragraph), the book should be a big hit with supernatural-fantasy readers ...the second book can't come soon enough' Booklist (starred review) 'A richly atmospheric and intensely readable slice of Victoriana, with a splendidly eerie sense of the way the unearthly lies cheek-by-jowl with the mundane' Adam Roberts 'Utterly enthralling: Charles Dickens meets Susanna Clarke' Lou Morgan 'A remarkable combination of British folklore, brisk pacing and wide-ranging imagination' Kirkus Reviews
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Product details

  • Hardback | 448 pages
  • 157 x 239 x 39mm | 720g
  • Orbit
  • London, United Kingdom
  • 0356502899
  • 9780356502892
  • 946,521

Review quote

Exciting, exhilarating, scary and moving in equal measure, The Oversight is a teeming world of dark deeds and dark magics, brilliantly realised. This feels like the start of something amazing -- M. R. Carey, author of THE GIRL WITH ALL THE GIFTS Told in a kind of compelling and hypnotic poesie that I just lapped up ... I'll certainly be reading the next one -- Cory Doctorow BoingBoing.net The Oversight is - and let's be clear here - something very special ... It's oh so moreish a morsel. I'd read a prequel this evening, a sequel as soon as. -- Niall Alexander Tor.com A highly entertaining fantasy that promises a trilogy worth sinking your teeth into SciFiNow Fletcher's Victorian London is juicily vivid, and laced with macabre Dickensian wit. There's a real sense of grim danger, both natural and unnatural, hungrily awaiting the slightest mis-step -- Frances Hardinge Richly atmospheric (the evil lurks in the background of every paragraph), the book should be a big hit with supernatural-fantasy readers ... the second book can't come soon enough Booklist (starred review) A richly atmospheric and intensely readable slice of Victoriana, with a splendidly eerie sense of the way the unearthly lies cheek-by-jowl with the mundane -- Adam Roberts A remarkable combination of British folklore, brisk pacing and wide-ranging imagination Kirkus Reviews Utterly enthralling: Charles Dickens meets Susanna Clarke -- Lou Morgan Exciting, exhilarating, scary and moving in equal measure, The Oversight is a teeming world of dark deeds and dark magics, brilliantly realised. This feels like the start of something amazing -- M. R. Carey, author of THE GIRL WITH ALL THE GIFTS Fletcher's Victorian London is juicily vivid, and laced with macabre Dickensian wit. There's a real sense of grim danger, both natural and unnatural, hungrily awaiting the slightest mis-step -- Frances Hardinge A richly atmospheric and intensely readable slice of Victoriana, with a splendidly eerie sense of the way the unearthly lies cheek-by-jowl with the mundane -- Adam Roberts Told in a kind of compelling and hypnotic poesie that I just lapped up ... I'll certainly be reading the next one -- Cory Doctorow BoingBoing.net Utterly enthralling: Charles Dickens meets Susanna Clarke -- Lou Morgan A remarkable combination of British folklore, brisk pacing and wide-ranging imagination Kirkus Reviews Richly atmospheric (the evil lurks in the background of every paragraph), the book should be a big hit with supernatural-fantasy readers ... the second book can't come soon enough. Booklist (starred review) The Oversight is - and let's be clear here - something very special ... It's oh so moreish a morsel. I'd read a prequel this evening, a sequel as soon as. -- Niall Alexander Tor.com
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About Charlie Fletcher

Charlie Fletcher is a screenwriter and children's author living in Edinburgh. His Stoneheart trilogy has been translated into a dozen languages and the film rights have been sold to Paramount. The first volume, Stoneheart, was shortlisted for the Branford Boase award and longlisted for the Guardian Children's Fiction Prize. His standalone novel for children, Far Rockaway, was published last year to great critical acclaim and has been longlisted for the Carnegie prize. He can be found on twitter at @CharlieFletch_r.
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Rating details

1,910 ratings
3.73 out of 5 stars
5 25% (483)
4 38% (721)
3 25% (481)
2 8% (159)
1 3% (66)

Our customer reviews

irst a few words on the cover...... which I really love and what was what initially drew me to the book. The hand cupping the mysterious smoke that forms the books title, definitely a female hand and you can see a heartstone ring on a finger (read the book to find out about the significance of the heartstone rings to The Oversight, and it a significant part of the story!). It gave me a sense of magic about the book and it grabbed me from the first look. "WHEN THEY FALL SO DO WE ALL" is a very apt tagline for the book and gets the mind working immediately...... 'who are THEY?', 'why will THEY fall?', what are THEY to do with us, why will we fall if they do?, lots of questions from the one front cover tagline and I love books that provoke your mind from first glance like that. Question is, did the book live up to the cover? Read on to find out....... The setting is Victorian London for the most part but we do get to leave London for parts of the books too, including a few scenes based in the Andover workhouse which is fascinating for me personally seeing as I actually live in Andover and we did a lot of work about the Andover workhouse while at secondary school! The book revolves around a secret society called The Oversight that 'polices' the lines between the ordinary human world (the mundane world) and the magical and supernatural one. Once they were many but now they are down to a single Hand, just five members. The story is their fight against those that want to destroy them and the world. What you end up with is a wonderful romp through a Victorian landscape that isn't quite our own, full of magic and the 'supranatural' and it's a wonderful read indeed! The characters are full and well-shaped, full of emotions and genuinely fascinating for the most part. We have the member of The Oversight themselves..... Sara Falk, the seemingly leader of the Hand, who's grandfather was a major player in The Oversight is a glint , like Lucy who I mentioned before. Sara is an interesting character as she initially seems very aloof and quite uptight but as the book progresses and things happen to her she definitely softens and shows a very different side to herself, an all too human side. Her number two seems to me Jack Sharp or Mr Sharp as he's referred to throughout the book. He's a very interesting character who seems to be able to influence people using his eyes, he's big and tough, and very protective over Sara. Next you have Cook, who's the cook come housekeeper of Sara's London house, she is also the living heart of what remains of The Oversight, the mother hen of the group. Hodge and Jed are the two sidekicks who do the majority of the 'grunt work', officially only Hodge is a member of The Oversight seeing as Jed is actually a terrier but they seem to have some kind of physic link between them as Jed is able to tell Hodge were he is by just thinking it and vice versa, very handy on a stakeout! The final member is the enigmatic The Smith who's a bit more of mystery as he is much older than you would think! Outside of The Oversight the characters are a bit more fleeting and temporary except for Lucy Harker, the strange girl who is like Sara, a glint, and who Sara desperately wants to help but she isn't quite what she seems to be and her invitation into Sara's home sets off a chain of events that turn the world of The Oversight upside down and sideways! All the characters are incredibly likeable, even those who aren't on the same side as The Oversight are easy to understand and provoke the right kind of emotion in the reader. Is it a mind-blowingly good? I thought this book was a fantastic surprise as it was so much better than I expected it to be. I had hoped that after reading the blurb for the book that it would be good as it had the subject matter that I like reading about but the final result was so much better that I expected! Is it interesting? If the supernatural appeals to you like it does to me then hell yes! I love the idea of entities fighting the forces of evil and The Oversight is no exception, they are an old force that have a back-story that is touched upon in this book but that could be explored in much more depth. One thing I did really love in this book is the idea of the mirrors and mirror-walking, something that I found interesting in Jennifer Donnelly's Deep Blue as that book has a very similar thought-train regarding mirrors. The idea of a mirror as a doorway to elsewhere is a wonderful one and I love books that do it. Is it enjoyable to read? Very, as I said the books is helped by great characterisation but also by a fabulous sense of mystery, especially the mystery surrounded Lucy when she first arrives gagged and bound on the doorstep of Sara's home and it's a mystery that continues through the book, the we also have the mystery that is the Templebane family, a very strange family of adopted boys (with the most peculiar names imaginable) with two fathers, a day father and a night father. They are obviously a force against The Oversight but why? Then you have the shadowy Citizen who's a bit creepy and finally you get to The Sluagh, any book with any form of The Sluagh in is a must read for me as they are always a great addition to a book, usually featured in books as the dark side of the Fae world but in this case more like the spirits of the restless dead and very demonesque in this case, a much needed sinister and supernatural enemy for The Oversight. Is is well written? It is, I have never read any of Charlie Fletcher's other work so he was a new author to me but I found the writing style laid back and easy to read. The is no pretentiousness in his writing, it is honest and completely to the point with no need for over-long descriptive passages while still leaving you with a good sense of what's happening and the surrounding throughout. Would you recommend it? Definitely! Maybe this book doesn't have the most original premise in the world but that does not stop it being a very interesting book to read, and thoroughly enjoyable too. It is quite reminiscent of Susannah Clarke's Jonathan Strange And Mr. Norrell in places but I loved that about it and if you enjoyed that book then you should read this one too as it has the same kind of feel. I loved the book and would most definitely say to read it if you like the sound of it as I don't think you'll be disappointed in the slightest with it, it's a cracking yarn! Will you read the subsequent books in this series? Most definitely..... I NEEEEEEED to know what happens next, 'cos I'm nosey like that!show more
by Thea Wilson
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