Apart from Tolkien who is a holy man and except for the a little cynical un- romantic finale, this story, in the fantastic style and put to the neapolitan era , is a whole galaxy ahead of all other literary mischiefs done by authors and published as «fantasy, not literature». You can’t deny this, because Neil Gaiman agrees with me. This world Clarke writes us is so real that we can taste the snowflakes as they tasted in the pure, only newly polluted and unmelted 1800’s. And at the same time as it is real, it is magically transparent, in the degree of causing a little headache, as you first are transported body and soul back to the 1800’s, and then you fall through the pavement of these icy winter streets, and down underground into the brugh, and the dangerous uncontrolled world of the Gentleman. Here’s a true badass you can fall in love with. Now we talk dark secrets, such as the earlier mentioned mr Grey knows nothing about. Never again will you be able to trust a group of birch- trees, and you will be rightfully suspicious to things you really relied upon before, like for example your own sadness. This book, that like the old folk tales, has layers of wisdom implemented in and under the story, may show you that sadness is one of the roads to Perdition, understood as never being able to return whole and safe to your armchair, in front of the fireplace, again. Therefore see too that you read all the book’s fat footnotes carefully and learn well the spells that still works.