Mesmerising, electrifying, Dickensian, dystopian - SOOT welcomes us into a world in which your sin is visible.
Welcome to a world where every desire is visible, rising from the body as a plume of Smoke. A world where bodies speak to one another and infect each other with desire, anger, greed. It is 1909 and this world stands on a precipice - some celebrate this constant whisper of skin to skin, and some seek to silence it forever.
Enter Eleanor, a young woman with a strange power over Smoke and niece of the Lord Protector of England. Running from her uncle and home, she finds shelter in a New York theatre troupe.
Then Nil, a thief hiding behind a self-effacing name. He's an orphan snatched from a jungle-home and suspects that a clue to his origins may lie hidden in the vaults of the mighty, newly-risen East India Company.
And finally Thomas, one of the three people to release Smoke into the world. On a clandestine mission to India, he hopes to uncover the origins of Smoke and lay to rest his doubts about what he helped to unleash.
In a story that crosses continents - from India to England's Minetowns - these three seek to control the power of Smoke. As their destinies entwine, a cataclysmic confrontation looms: the Smoke will either bind them together or forever rend the world.
Dan Vyleta is the son of Czech refugees who emigrated to Germany in the late 1960s. After growing up in Germany, he left to attend university in the UK where he completed a PhD in History at King's College, Cambridge. His debut novel, PAVEL & I, gathered immediate international acclaim and was translated into eight languages. His second novel, THE QUIET TWIN, was shortlisted for the Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize, and his third, THE CROOKED MAID, was a finalist for the Scotiabank Giller Prize and won the J.I Segal Award. When not reading or writing novels, Dan Vyleta watches cop shows, or listens to CDs from his embarrassingly large collection of jazz albums. He lives in Stratford-upon-Avon.