Dick Young stays in his friend Professor Magnus Lane’s house in Cornwall, on the understanding he will be a guinea-pig for a new drug that Magnus has developed. As a result of the experiment he is transported back to fourteenth-century Cornwall. With each ‘trip’ he becomes more and more involved with Medieval intrigue, adultery and murder. Is it merely hallucination; a subconscious escape from his own complicated life, or a real journey into the past? He becomes obsessed with the world he visits, and past and present eventually become inextricably and perilously mixed.
4 CDs | Running Time: 4h 36m | ISBN: 978-962-634-341-8 | Cat. no.: NA434112 | RRP: £16.99RRP:£16.99 GBPSRP: US $ 28.98RRP:£16.99 GBP
Television remakes of Rebecca aside, Daphne du Maurier is one of those novelists, like Doris Lessing, whom few people under forty seem either to reckon on or know much about. This is a great injustice. She is quite simply one of the best storytellers in the business – proper old-fashioned stories, with characters you gradually get to know and feel for, and plots whose originality and ingenuity have never been equalled.
The House on the Strand – which, I confess, I had never heard of until this Naxos version, punctuated by wonderfully atmospheric music, came out last year – is a dazzling example of her skill. The narrator, Richard, has been persuaded by his friend Magnus, a biophysicist, to be a guinea pig for a new drug he is working on, which, Magnus claims, can take the subject back in time – real historic time, not hallucination. Richard travels to Magnus’s house in Cornwall, the setting for most du Maurier novels, and takes the plunge. It works. Within minutes he finds himself transported back 600 years to the fourteenth century, the invisible observer of a series of tragic political and domestic intrigues with which he becomes increasingly fascinated. The side effects of the drug and the social effects on his real life and family are catastrophic. Too bad they don’t write stories as intriguing as this any more.
Sue Arnold, The Guardian