Lies Sleeping picks up after The Hanging Tree, and it’s a continuation of that story, essentially the second half of the story. As much as you’ve been told not to read this series out of order, really don’t read these two out of order.
They’ve identified the Faceless Man; his name is Martin Chorley. Lesley May is his–assistant? Apprentice? She may have some residual loyalty to Peter Grant, but it may be only words, and if it isn’t, he still can’t trust it because she’ll apply it in her own way.
Peter has also made some career progress. He’s now Detective Constable Peter Grant, no longer a mere Patrol Constable.
Chorley is in several respects the strongest opponent they’ve faced. In addition to being a powerful wizard of malign intent, he’s also well-off and well-connected. Nightingale, Peter, and the rest of their little team can’t take him down alone. They need the resources of the rest of the Metropolitan Police.
This round of the challenge starts with the discovery of a very large bell forged at the Whitechapel Bell Foundry, and not yet delivered to its intended owner–Chorley. Peter, while standing guard over it, discovers that it has a trapped soul in it, and exudes a glamor. He barely avoids being trapped himself, and Nightingale has to destroy it.
Unfortunately, there are two other bells, made elsewhere, and they have to be found and destroyed, too. Throughout the hunt for the bells and for Chorley, Peter and Lesley periodically talk, with him trying to persuade her to break with Chorley, and her trying to persuade him not to interfere with Chorley’s plan. She says it will kill Mr. Punch, the figure responsible for her disfigurement, and bring peace and order to London’s streets. Mr. Punch is undeniably a cause of trouble in London, but Peter has serious doubts about the wisdom of killing him.
When Peter meets up with Lesley in another attempt to persuade her not to support Chorley’s plan, he winds up captured by Lesley and Chorley, and trapped in an underground bubble with another of Chorley’s minions. This the start of a strange interlude, which leads to some fascinating revelations, and a truly absorbing confrontation.
Characters learn and grow, and we learn more about them. Characters you would not expect to learn and grow and have interesting backstories, absolutely do.