Review: The Lost Future of Pepperharrow by Natasha Pulley

1888. Five years after they met in The Watchmaker of Filigree Street, Thaniel Steepleton, an unassuming translator, and Keita Mori, the watchmaker who remembers the future, are traveling to Japan. Thaniel has received an unexpected posting to the British legation in Tokyo, and Mori has business that is taking him to Yokohama.

Thaniel’s brief is odd: the legation staff have been seeing ghosts, and Thaniel’s first task is to find out what’s really going on. But while staying with Mori, he starts to experience ghostly happenings himself. For reasons Mori won’t–or can’t–share, he is frightened. Then he vanishes.

Meanwhile, something strange is happening in a frozen labour camp in Northern Japan. Takiko Pepperharrow, an old friend of Mori’s, must investigate.

As the weather turns bizarrely electrical and ghosts haunt the country from Tokyo to Aokigahara forest, Thaniel grows convinced that it all has something to do with Mori’s disappearance–and that Mori may be in serious danger.

I’d been looking forwards to reading this book since I learn’t it was coming and I certainly wasn’t disappointed.

The Lost Future of Pepperharrow is the follow up novel to the wonderful Watchmaker of Filigree Street. If you havn’t read that book yet (and you should because its great) you will need to before diving in to this one.

Although you could probably follow the story without doing so, you would have missed everything that led Thaniel, Mori and Six to where they are at the start of Pepperharrow and that would be a real shame as you wouldn’t start by caring about them.

Natasha Pulley’s writing is fabulous, her sentences, character building and world building are just so enjoyable to read.

I loved Thaniel and Mori’s relationship with their adopted daughter Six, who it was heavily implied but never said (because frankly it didn’t need to be) is autistic. The way Thaniel held himself back from hugging her because she didn’t like it and the trust she showed in her adopted parents was incredibly touching.

I was thrilled that Katsu was back as well, I think I’ve said it before but I’m a sucker for ‘sentient’ animals in books and a clockwork octopus is no different.

This time we we follow Thaniel, Mori and Six to Mori’s home in Japan.

Mori and Thaniel’s relationship is beautifully realised. Neither of them are (or can be) openly demonstrative with each other. Theirs is a relationship played close, no overt gestures or loud decelerations but no less for it. Several times their conversations bought a lump to my throat.

This is a magical book full of strange happenings and mysteries. At its heart though is a very human story and it was a delight to spend more time in the company of Thaniel and Mori.

With thanks to Bloomsbury Publishing and Netgalley for an advance copy in exchange for honest review

The Lost Future of Pepperharrow is published 3 March 2020