RT Book, Whole DB /z-wcorg/ DS http://worldcat.org ID 28183636 LA English T1 Air & fire A1 Thomson, Rupert., PB Knopf : Distributed by Random House PP New York YR 1994 SN 0679425063 9780679425069 AB At the close of the nineteenth century, Theophile Valence and his wife, Suzanne, sail into the harbor of Santa Sofia, a remote Mexican copper-mining town. In the ship's hold are 2,348 pieces of a cast-iron church that has been designed by the great French engineer Gustave Eiffel - a monument to colonialism, and to the European faith in modernity, that Valence will assemble here in "Lower California," on the fringes of empire. But neither Theo nor Suzanne is prepared for. The effect her beauty and clairvoyance will have on the town and its inhabitants - an effect far greater than the incongruous church itself. As her husband applies himself faithfully to his work, the insular French community weighs the charms and merits of her presence, which also (and innocently) excites the imagination of a flamboyant Mexican officer and an itinerant American prospector. Meanwhile these tensions are reflected by those inherent to such a hybrid place. Part European, part American and wholly apart from any world familiar to any of its inhabitants except the Indians whose labors account for its very existence. Part love story, part adventure, part mystery and part hallucination, Air & Fire is a magnificent tale of conflicting passions and cultures, set in a harsh and magical landscape where Parisian boulevards have been constructed in the dust, and where desires of all sorts exceed the opportunities of fulfillment. After the widely acclaimed Dreams of Leaving and The Five Gates of Hell, Rupert Thomson demonstrates yet again his extraordinary ability to merge real and invented landscapes into a transfixing world of his own, and furthers his position as one of England's most original and visionary new writers. And according to the London Daily Telegraph, "If ever a book blazed with imagination and talent, it is his third novel, Air & Fire."