The moody countryside wanderings of an adventurer Hill (A Question of Identity, 2013, etc.) sends on a glacially paced adventure in search of the truth about his hero.
After an unconventional childhood during which he was raised in Africa by a distant guardian, Sir James Monmouth has made his life traveling the world questing for adventure. He seeks in part to travel in the footsteps of his hero, the famous (or infamous) Conrad Vane. On his arrival in England, Monmouth plans to learn the history surrounding Vane, from his early life onward. Though all those he meets try to dissuade him from this quest, citing feelings of wariness and concern for Monmouth, he soldiers on, tracking down a surprising connection between Vane’s life and his own. Once his research becomes personal, Monmouth is more determined than ever to learn about Vane’s history as well as his own. With the help and support of his new friend Lady Quincebridge, Monmouth traces his origins to the mysterious and remote Kittiscar Hall. Although Lady Quincebridge insists that Monmouth give up when the madness of researching Vane begins to infect him as an illness, Monmouth cannot rest until he understands how their lives are intertwined. His journey to Kittiscar Hall holds secrets that Monmouth had never guessed and yet always instinctively knew—and not only secrets, but danger too.
The eponymous mist seems to cloud the writing, and the meandering tale ends quickly with a conclusion that still seems obscure. Even if Monmouth doesn’t deserve the truth, doesn’t the loyal reader?