So it turns out that the day after the storm, Irina wakes up from her coma and is allowed to go home with her parents. But as soon as they get back, Mr Carver can tell from Alicia and Max's behaviour that something happened while they were gone. But there's something in their faces which tells him not to ask, which is handy really, seeing as trying to think of a suitable lie to cover "Roland was drowned by a dead man" might be a bit of a stretch at this point.
We now switch to the train station, where Max has gone to say goodbye to Victor. There's a brief conversation between the two of them about where Victor will go now, but he won't say, only remarking that:
"Wherever I go [...] I'll never be able to get away from here."The train is about to leave, when Victor gives Max a box, which he doesn't open until the train is gone. What he finds in there are the keys to the lighthouse. Max seems pleased with it, but it seems a bit of a creepy present to me. Almost like trying to sell someone a house where the last occupant was murdered, or something like that. Anyway, chapter 18 is done, so on to the epilogue.
So the epilogue starts with some historical context, as it seems that the war is on its last legs at last. Mr Carver has opened up his watchmaker's shop in the town, and it seems to be going well. Irina's completely recovered and conveniently can't remember her accident. Max goes to the lighthouse every evening to light the lamp and gaze out to sea. And Alicia goes down to Roland's beach hut to stare out at the sea. I'll admit, the tone of these two last sections doesn't quite sit right somehow. It tries to smooth over the consequences of Roland's death a bit, which feels, I don't know, disrespectful somehow. I mean, a character that we've gotten to know really well over the course of most of the book has died, meaning that our heroes lost to boot, and it's just kind of skimmed over. The only character that really seems to act properly grief-stricken is Alicia, and while I'll admit that she has a bit more reason to be traumatised by this, Max and Victor only seemed vaguely melancholic, which was bizarre. In any case, it does turn out that communications between Alicia and Max have suffered because of Roland's death, but conversely has also tightened their emotional bond. And that's pretty much where the story ends.
So yeah, a bit of an odd ending. In the context of what happened the previous chapter, it feels really weak, which is pretty disappointing really; after such a strong chapter last time, I had hoped that the ending would be equally as strong, emphasising the consequences of his death more. An overall review and an introduction to my next book will be coming up next update.