John C. Wright’s Iron Chamber of Memory

John C. Wright - Iron Chamber of Memory

The mystery of an island where the past never ended.

Riddles in an ancient house whose doors remain locked; not to keep thieves out, but to keep ghosts in.

A quest for the Holy Grail, and a love triangle worthy of Arthurian legend.

Murder plots, skin changers, cases of mistaken identity, and meditations on memory and storytelling itself–all of these things, and many more, reside within the Iron Chamber of Memory.

Every writer has a deeply personal project–a labor of love written not under contractual obligation or an editor’s deadline, but at the muses’ direction. All too often, commercial pressures relegate such convention-defying works to obscurity in lower desk drawers and forgotten shoe boxes in the backs of closets.

Luckily for us, John C. Wright submitted his trunk novel to the fine folks at Castalia House, who have published it to high acclaim.

Whatever you’re expecting from Iron Chamber of Memory going in, know that the book will deliver on your expectations, plus myriad others you never knew you had.

Craving a romance about lovers desperate to overcome the insurmountable obstacles keeping them apart? Wright has dreamed up the most creative and diabolically clever source of conflict I’ve ever heard of in that genre.

Looking for a mystery set in a medieval mansion on a remote island fiefdom that turns on masterful misdirection, ingenious plot twists, and philosophical pondering on the nature of memory to shame Christopher Nolan? Iron Chamber of Memory will keep you turning pages long past bedtime.

Do you seek something more profound–answers to why heaven allows evil to reign on earth, or how mercy can coexist with perfect justice? Wright’s novel treats these questions as seriously as any work by C.S. Lewis while maintaining the integrity of the story as story.

It’s rare for a book that combines so many genres to achieve such a satisfying result. A major reason why Wright excels where countless others manage only mediocrity is that he didn’t set out to create a genre mashup. He wrote as the spirit moved him and left the genre labels to his publisher.

Describing Iron Chamber of Memory much further is difficult without risking spoilers. I can mention other books that this one reminded me of, including The Sorcerer’s House by Gene Wolfe, Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere, and Lovecraft’s Dream Cycle. Yet here, the whole is definitely greater than the sum of its parts.

To indulge in a bit of brazen flogging, the mood, themes, situations, and symbolism found within Iron Chamber of Memory reminded me of my own book Souldancer. Any connection may not be entirely coincidental, since Mr. Wright’s wife also edited my novel.

In conclusion, I highly recommend Iron Chamber of Memory by John C. Wright to any lover of Gothic romance, preternatural mysteries, or historical fiction who also appreciates the higher Mysteries of supernatural love and atonement.

@BrianNiemeier

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About Brian Niemeier

Brian Niemeier is a John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer finalist. His second book, Souldancer, won the first ever Dragon Award for Best Horror Novel. He chose to pursue a writing career despite formal training in history and theology. His journey toward publication began at the behest of his long-suffering gaming group, who tactfully pointed out that he seemed to enjoy telling stories more than planning and adjudicating games.