What I think I did (though it wasn’t deliberate) in Declare, was take the world according to Roman Catholicism as my physics. It’s my own default setting, being Roman Catholic myself. I figured, ‘These are your laws. You can stretch them, you can violate them if you’ve thought of a very clever justification, but you can’t just ignore the math.’ It was fun doing fictional adventure stories set in what I would say, if challenged, is the real supernatural structure. Some reviewers have called Declare an overtly Catholic book, but that direction was also indicated by the research. Kim Philby is a beautifully contradictory and mysterious character. You just hope to find characters as apparently irrational as him, so you can say, "OK, let’s look at him on the ssumption that all his actions were not irrational. Let’s try to find some situation in which this behavior was sensible. Do we have any clues?" — Tim Powers

'Tradecraft meets Lovecraft' is the way Tim Powers describes his latest novel. And he's right. Declare is Powers' wild romp combining a John Le Carre-style spy novel with his own blend of fantasy and horror.

This is definitely my favorite Powers' book since The Stress of Her Regard, and Declare shares much in common with that novel. Instead of vampires, we have djinn straight out of The Arabian Nights; instead of the Romantic poets, the attentions of these creatures are focused on Cold War spies. We get Philby for goodness sake!

Powers sticks to his customary set of rules in Declare: in portraying historical events, he sticks strictly to the known facts, but gives them a slight twist. Did upperclass Englishman Philby betray his country out of misguided idealism, or were his reasons more peculiar? Was Stalin simply a madman, or did his seemingly insane purges of his own intelligence agencies have some arcane purpose? How did an institution built on such shifting sands as the Soviet Union was survive for as long as it did? Powers applies his reverse version of Occam's Razor — the strangest explanation is the most likely — to these and other Cold War mysteries, and wow do we the reader have fun in the process.

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