In a return to the British setting of his much loved novel "All Souls", Javier Marias embarks on a remarkable 'novel in parts', set in the murky world of surveillance and espionage.
"Fever and Spear" is the first volume. In it Marias begins to weave a web of intrigue, both narrative and intellectual, that will entice the reader to follow him into the labyrinth of the novel's future books.
Recently divorced, Jacques Deza moves from Madrid to London in order to distance himself from his ex-wife and children. There he picks up old friendships from his Oxford University days, particularly Sir Peter Wheeler, retired don and semi-retired spy. It is at an Oxford party of Wheeler's that Jacques is approached by the enigmatic Bertram Tupra.
Tupra believes that Jacques has a talent: he is one of those people who sees more clearly than others, who can guess from someone's face today what they will become tomorrow. His services would be of use to a mysterious group whose aims are unstated but whose day-to-day activities involve the careful observation of people's character and the prediction of their future behaviour.
The 'group' may be part of MI6, though Jacques will find no reference to it in any book; he will be called up to report on all types of people from politicians and celebrities, to ordinary citizens applying for bank loans.
As Deza is drawn deeper into this twilight world of observation, Marias shows how trust and betrayal characterise all human relationships. How do we read people, and how far can the stories they tell about themselves be trusted when, by its very nature, all language betrays?
Moving from the intimacy of Jacques' marriage to the deadly betrayals of the Spanish Civil War, "Your Face Tomorrow" is an extraordinary meditation on our ability to know our fellow human beings, and to save ourselves from fever and pain.