Dreams is on the verge of becoming one of the most sought-after books this Christmas, and we’re looking forward to publication day. Readers can preorder on our website. Dreams will hit our bookshelves on the 6th of December, 2022. Below is the editorial review written by Arrow Gate’s brilliant editor, Lily Laycock.
C. D. Fox’s Dreams is a tense, emotional thriller which begs the question: how do dreams reflect reality? And how devastating can they prove?
Hugh Swann is a freshman at Oxford with a bright future ahead of him, a brilliant girlfriend, and a sound head on his shoulders. Until a series of haunting dreams bring him closer to the troubled Elizabeth and her murky past. As Hugo’s dreams turn into nightmares, he must ask if they are fiction or reality. And, if Elizabeth is all she seems.
Fox writes with an awareness of character and a clear goal for their role in the greater narrative. His handling of multiple storylines is expert and cleanly weaves together perspectives. Our central characters, Hugo, Elizabeth, and Alice, are of note; each contributes a piece of the puzzle at the centre of this thriller. Although the ensemble cast at times pales in comparison, their roles are never diminished, and Fox frequently finds ways to craft a new voice. His work possesses definite appeal to fans of character-driven stories. Some characters will be beloved, some despised, but each brings together the world of Dreams in a way that reflects the complex diversity of everyday life.
The setting is another core strength of Dreams, from Elizabeth’s isolated meadow to the proud city of Oxford. Details are used in an evocative fashion, placing the reader in each scene through meticulous sensory writing. A portrait of England is painted, from the crisp air of the countryside to the ancient weight of the Oxbridge institution. Fox does well to include personal touches that invite the reader into even the most forbidding places. By the book’s climax, scenes of comfort give way to horror and malice, transformed by Fox’s careful handling of adjectives.
Fox’s most laudable achievement is his awareness of thriller conventions and maximising their potential. Whilst handling staples of the genre, he refreshes them with well-constructed twists. The most successful case of this is in Fox’s blend of psychology and infatuation, looking at the way the heart rends from the head. Though Hugo senses the doom of his newfound love, he presses on until its inevitable conclusion, despite Alice’s desperate attempts to uncover the truth behind his dreams. Taking note from the tragic form, Fox captures our empathy for his characters and refuses us respite long after the final page turn.
Dreams is a portrait of humanity’s greatest downfall: the hubris of intellect over emotion. It questions the ability of its characters to escape this hamartia, from friendship to family, sex to love, and blood to water. Whilst logic pulls one way, Fox’s characters greedily pursue courses of action that can only lead to devastation. Whether pursuing an impossible love or sating despicable cravings, Dreams leaves no stone unturned in its quest for the truth.