My rating: 5 of 5 stars
A spectacular coming-of-age fantasy novel from one of the best new fantasists in recent years. As with his previous two novels, MR. SHIVERS and THE COMPANY MAN, Bennett mixes strong fantastical and mythical elements into a historical narrative — in this case, magicians traveling incognito on the early 1900s vaudeville circuit while they run from their enemies and quest for a very special magic. There are plenty of great characters the reader will come to care about as sixteen-year-old George Carole falls in with the troupe while searching for his absent father. Each character has their own secrets to reveal and layers to peel back. The setting is vivid and fascinating, the mythology compelling, and the plot kept me turning the pages through to the very end. As much as I loved MR. SHIVERS and THE COMPANY MAN, THE TROUPE may be the best novel by Bennet I’ve read yet. If you haven’t read anything by him, you’re truly missing out.