TITLE: THE HUNDRED AND NINETY-NINE STEPS
AUTHOR: MICHEL FABER
This is more a novella than a novel, but it shows clearly how a story doesn't always need as many words as the average author might use on it. Because despite it's size, this book contains a novel's worth of a story. It is easy to see how the story could have been fleshed out to the point where it would use up 300 pages or more. The point is that this story didn't need fleshing out, it didn't need the extra 200 pages or so and I seriously doubt whether the story would have improved when subjected to such treatment. Rather the opposite I suspect.
This is the story of Sian, who is being troubled by very vivid and gruesome nightmares. While working on an archaeological dig at Whitby Abbey she meets a man, Magnus and his dog, Hadrian. Attraction is instant both to the man and the dog, but past experiences make Sian keep her distance from the man even though an intriguing mystery in a bottle he presents to her, keeps them close.
This was a very well written book, with not a word too many or out of place. It was also a multifaceted story with historical, Gothic and romantic elements. Quite a feat for a book of only 122 pages, some of which showed lovely pictures.