19th century England. A young tattoo artist is approached by an invisible woman, who wants a full-body tattoo, to make herself visible. Unfortunately, her troubles don't end at invisibility. She's from an alternate dimension full of Lovecraftian horrors, and is pursued by an Ultimate Evil Villain called the Dreadful Eye. The tattooist, who falls in love with the woman sight unseen (ha ha), attempts to help her in her quest to free her dimension of tyranny, assisted by a young Aleister Crowley.
OK, sounded quirky enough to be interesting.
Unfortunately, the book suffered from poor research and/or simple ignoring of facts.
I think the portrayal of Crowley was meant to be funny, but it was wildly inaccurate.
More bothersome were the descriptions of tattooing. The first thing I noticed was that the book states that the protagonist was first employed "sterilizing his uncle's needles." The concept of sterilization for surgical intruments was only introduced in the latter half of the 19th century. I doubt very much whether tattooists bothered, at that point in time.
Then, the author goes on to demonstrate a profound lack of knowledge of tattooing, stating, for example, that tattooing the face (genitals, etc) would involve life-threatening surgery to remove the skin, rearrange the veins and blood vessels, insert the ink, and then replace the skin!!! What!!!???
I know several people with facial tattoos, it's no biggie. Tattoo ink is just barely subcutaneous, it doesn't involve veins, blood vessels, or surgery AT ALL.
This mis-assumption involves a lot of the book, so it's really quite disturbing to the reading experience.
Also, since the ink IS subcutaneous, it doesn't actually color the skin - it shows THROUGH the skin. So if you tattooed someone whose skin was invisible, they would NOT pass for normal, because the texture of their skin would still not be visible. Rubbing foundation makeup all over your body would work much better.
The villains are lifted in direct "tribute" to Lovecraft. (Much chanting of "Tekeli-li" is heard). However, it kinda just comes off as unoriginal.
And finally, I didn't think the quality of the writing, in general, was really up to professional standards.
A fantastic romance set in Victorian London.
This is simply an amazing book. If you are a fan of Lovecraft (especially in a Cthulhu-by-Gaslight sense), then you will enjoy this book.
In the story, an invisible woman seeks help in gaslight London. She's escaped from a parallel world and is being pursued by malignant forces. To save her, the heroes must confront an incomprehensible evil. Highly atmospheric and fantastic, peopled by historical figures such as MacGregor Mathers and Crowley, this will appeal most to RPG fans (I think); midway through the adventure, the main characters are attacked in a butchershop by a horror constructed entirely of sawdust and dead animals.