Anna Sinfield marched into the parks, when Angel Tower burned and Dream London fell. She marched to free the city, to end the madness, to find her mother and father. The day was won, but her parents—and thousands like them—are still missing, lost to the Dream World.
And now she has a chance to get them back. A man with gemlike eyes has walked into her life, wearing a bespoke suit and bearing a terrible scroll. Mr Twelvetrees claims to know where the missing Londoners are; but to find them, Anna has to give up a life she’s started to rebuild and go into the Dream World itself. Into another Paris, where history has been repeating itself for two hundred years.
Vive La Révolution!
In literature and to a lesser extent in life, London has had a tough time of it in recent years: it's rioted and rebelled; it's been burned, bombed and buried; it's risen to great heights and, inevitably, it's fallen. And fallen. And fallen.
But you can't keep a city like Great Britain's biggest down—even when a living nightmare threatens to take its place, as Tony Ballantyne documented in Dream London. A notable novel which explored a notion not dissimilar to that proposed by the Philip K. Dick Award nominee's pre-eminent peer in the weird, namely the incursion of second place into a single space—see The City & the City by China Mieville—Dream London demonstrated the resilience and the spirit of even the most impoverished inhabitants of my country's capital.
If you weren't here, if you didn't live through the changes, if you didn't experience how the streets moved around at night or how people's personalities were subtly altered, if you didn't see the casual cruelty, the cheapening of human life, the way that easy stereotypes took hold of people... if you weren't there, you're never going to understand what it was like. (p.13)
Anna Sinfield remembers, however. Anna Sinfield will never forget. And yet, having lost her mother and her father and her friends to the dream world's dark designs, she still found the strength in herself to take to the streets. Alongside thousands of other like-minded Londoners, she marched into the parks when all was almost lost, the better to bring down the Angel Tower and stand against the source of the so-called incursion.
Dream London has been receding steadily ever since. The streets are straightening; people's personalities are reasserting themselves; human life means something once more. But for Anna, the nightmare is far from over, I'm afraid. When a man with fly eyes called Mr Twelvetrees presents her with a prophesy that promises she'll be reunited with her missing mum in Dream Paris, she packs a bag without missing a beat and sets her sights on the City of Lights.