Patrick Gale describes his latest novel as a modern fairy tale. Its literary roots lie in the late plays of Shakespeare. The hero’s violent jealousy links him to Leontes in A Winter’s Tale while his adventures on a storm-tossed island echo The Tempest. Add two separated siblings who could have walked straight out of Cymbeline, throw in enough improbable coincidences to put pantomimes out of business and you have a mixture that may be rich but is never dull. … consistently entertaining but also, in places, quietly moving. The deracinated hero, with his existential despair, is very well done; while the women who buttress his fragile ego are also delineated with skill and feeling.

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