Gormenghast is the second book in the same-titled trilogy. It is a fantasy of manners published in 1950, written by Mervyn Peake. Ah, Mervyn Peake. His work is like nothing else I've ever read, simply incomparable. His prose is florid but beautiful. His characters are so unique and exaggerated that they are more caricatures. My favorite is Dr. Prunesquallor, "with his hyena laugh, his bizarre and elegant body, his celluloid face...His cardinal virtue? An undamaged brain."
Sometimes Peake's purple prose and long-windedness get in the way of the story, and his punctuation is atrocious, but sometimes words like "genius" come to mind while reading. This second book contains a soiree that shows Peake at the height of his comic powers, as well as a flood of epic proportions that turns Gormenghast Castle into an intricate and eerie aqueous playground. Or should I say battleground?