This story is set on the Maine coastline on a fictional island called Mount Airey Island, home to some of the richest in American society. The story is about Julia Garde Macauley, whose ancestral home on the island is called Joyous Garde, but really focuses on her family’s inherited relationship with the Rex, a sortof keeper who maintains portals – one of which is located on the island. The Rex befriends a member of the family, and when a new Rex takes over (having killed the previous one), the child of the next generation is introduced to the Rex. In a way, there’s one Rex for each generation of the family.
A bit of a strange story, this. I enjoyed the setting, which was well-described by Bowes. He also gave a good idea of society on the island and how it changed over time – from men bathing alone (and naked) from a cove at the tip of the island while the women gossiped, to both genders bathing (clothed) together in the same cove. Little touches like that really rounded the story out.
The family’s relationship with the Rex(s) was depicted in lovely detail. There were links to the Roman gods, but for me this more confused than explained anything. That the Rex worked for the Roman gods, that much was clear, and that a new Rex would murder the previous incumbent of the position, that too was clear. Also clear was that the portals were gradually being closed down. I didn’t understand Tim’s role, nor really the family’s role in general, apart from their being a companion to each Rex – and getting, in return, some foreknowledge of the future.
If you’re looking for a time travel story, then this is not a good place to look, but as an interesting story with portals into different times, then it isn’t a bad tale at all. Quite intriguing.