‘Green Children are superheroes in all the stories.’
‘It’s a pity that the first incident happened when it was wet.’
Meet the Green Children. They are special in so many ways. But where do they come from, and what is their purpose?
Somewhere, in an old tunnel under France, a door leads to a tiny pocket universe called Tsarfat. If you survive passage through that door, you will become an Envoy to Earth2. Earth2 is a little different from our Earth: it has many forms of magic regulated by the government through the Offices of the Non-Natural Environment. If you survive, you will be called a Green Child, or a superhero.
But something is wrong on Earth2. Green Children are dying, the world is under threat: pits of fire and brimstone are opening in churches, and doors to a Nazi-ruled universe are appearing. How can the Green Children save themselves and the world, and what is the role of magic?
Gillian Polack has peopled this novel with well realised characters both from different parts of the world and different worlds. Their relationships are complex, their skillsets complementary, their foibles so recognisably human. And we are reminded, subtly, as we journey with them, the varying ways in which we relate to people depends upon how we perceive differences. Times shift, relationships develop, danger lurks. Can the Green Children prevail?
There is romance in this world, as well as bureaucratic hierarchy. And lots of magic.
Gillian calls this book a Jewish superhero book, and it is in part. But it is more than that: it is a book in which fantasy and reality work in harmony, where ordinary flawed people have superpowers, and where there is hope. And it is a world I can relate to and inhabit.
If you enjoy well-written fantasy, then I recommend this novel. I have read it once and will be reading it again.