THE VAST MEMORY OF LOVE by Malcolm Bosse

THE VAST MEMORY OF LOVE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

 In a departure from the Asian and apocalyptic milieus of The Warlord (1983) and Mister Touch (1991), Bosse here re-creates Henry Fielding's London--and the gout-ridden father of the novel himself- -in a slightly convoluted but touching romantic saga. Young shepherd Ned Carleton arrives in the city to seek his fortune, finding a position with the imperious Lord Sandwich that he promptly loses when falsely accused of theft. Adding injury to insult, Ned burns a hand badly in an unsuccessful attempt to rescue a woman from a fire, and is thereby rendered unfit for any work save the illegal kind, which 18th-century London offers in abundance. He finds his niche in the fashionable West End as the fearsome Dog Cull, a sobriquet derived from his companion, a talented sheepdog turned herder of men ripe for the plucking. He also finds sweet love, however, with a prostitute who returns his affections as innocently as he offers them, and so he decides to blackmail the mighty Sandwich in order to gain the wherewithal for a fresh start for himself and Clare. Having deduced that his lordship is linked to a young woman who claimed she was abducted by a gypsy, Ned also connects the two to a former monastery that serves as the bawdy house for a group of blasphemous noblemen, who celebrate satanic rites using the living altar of a naked woman. Before he can profit from his knowledge, however, Ned is captured and sentenced to hang for murder--and only the timely arrival of Fielding, who has taken an interest in the case and who soon becomes smitten by Clare, can save him.... A masterful blend of history and fiction, marred only by the portrayal of Fielding, who appears aloof in his own narration of events. Even so, a vivid, engaging yarn.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1992
ISBN: 0-395-62943-8
Page count: 448pp
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1st, 1992