Reviewed by Matthew Johns
The titular Narrows are hidden pathways that exist alongside our own modern world. Bex is one of the Narrowfolk – a combination of the homeless, dropouts and those who decided to reject society, who subsists by bartering for those things they cannot find, steal or rescue from garbage. When a friend is injured and captured by a shadowy figure, she escapes onto a train and bumps into Andy Sumner; a chance encounter that changes both of their lives irrevocably.
Andy is a foundling – rescued by a police officer as a toddler from a kidnapping where he is found mysteriously covered in acupuncture needles from head to toe. He soon finds himself dragged into Bex’s world, where the action moves from the present day, to a 1950s village preserved in time, to an alien world and back again as Andy discovers powers awakening inside him that could save the world.
The detail in Brogden’s work is astounding – the novel is set in present day Birmingham, England – a city that is brought to life (and made arguably more interesting on paper) expertly by the author. The pseudo-science/magic combination used by the Narrowfolk, Andy and his nemesis, Professor Barber is plausibly explained.
All in all, a truly gripping tale that is well worth seeking out. Once immersed into Bex and Andy’s story, I didn’t want to put the book down until I’d finished it.