The String Diaries by Stephen Lloyd Jones
Published by Headline
17th July 2014
He has a face you love. A voice you trust. To survive you must kill him.
The rules of survival are handed from mother to daughter. Inherited, like the curse that has stalked Hannah and her family across centuries.
He changes his appearance at will, speaks with a stolen voice and hides behind the face of a beloved, waiting to strike.
Generation after generation, he has destroyed them. And all they could do was to run.
Now, it is time for Hannah to turn and fight.
I feel it will be hard to write too much about The String Diaries without giving away too much of the plot, but I will endeavour to do my best to explain some of story.
This book is written in three parts - firstly set in the present day, again in Oxford in the 1970s and finally in Hungary in the 1870s. In Oxford we meet the eccentric Charles who comes across a mysterious woman when working in the university library. She refuses to succumb to his ocd nature and he is baffled by her; so much so that he cannot help but want to see her again. All is not as it initially seems though, and this meeting takes them on a journey that will change both of their lives.
In the present day, we meet Hannah and her husband Nate. He has been badly injured and she is driving through the night, with their daughter asleep in the back of the car, to the only place of safety that she can think of, far away from their pursuer.
Stepping back in time, in Hungary we are introduced to society's elite and their customs and traditions, but one of their set is not like any other, for he has the ability to change his shape and take on the appearance of anyone he so chooses.
All three stories are ultimately linked, and Hannah is on the run from an age-old enemy that cannot be stopped. The question is, can she stop him before he destroys her life as he has done for many others in her family before her?
I have to say, this had me hooked. I loved the stories in themselves as they have very different characters, as well as the obvious time and place settings. I felt that Stephen Lloyd Jones captured the atmosphere brilliantly, and you could feel the tension building. The concept of a creature that can take on the persona of someone else, to the extent that you don't realise this is happening, is very frightening and it came across so well in the book. There is a sequel, Written in the Blood, and just as soon as my heart has stopped racing, I'll be diving in.