Powerful, mind-blowing stuff... a book that once opened, does not want to leave you. --Gwales
Peter Luther has had a great idea, created a book around a haunted crossword, and then constructed it very carefully, very cleverly and beautifully logically. Not to mention creepily... This is that rarest of books: an intelligent horror story. --Tregolwyn Book Review
From the Publisher
SOLVE THE CROSWORD: AND YOU TOO CAN STRIKE A DEAL WITH THE
Can a simple thing like a crossword hold the power to bring you amazing
luck? Or is there no such thing as good fortune without a pound of flesh?
In Peter Luther's Dark Covenant the price for sensational luck may be your
Such a curious crossword puzzle is to be found in `The Shilling', a
sinister rag that has transformed the life of a disfigured prostitute in
the Victorian underworld. Amassing great amounts of wealth and power, the
woman has built an empire to parallel that of Queen Victoria herself. Her
estate and legacy linger. But how has she come by all this, what price has
she paid? Now, in the form of a glossy magazine `The Shilling' is
performing miracles for a lawyer who is down on his luck. Its crossword
holds the template to his dreams, and, if he can decipher it, his inner
"In life, this woman must have been very strong. She wanted something very
badly ...and the Devil gave it to her. But the force of will was so great,
the prize so dearly bought, that this document of her life has survived."
Peter Luther's upbringing has been an inspiration for his subject matter.
I was raised on Evangelical teachings where hell and damnation are absolute
certainties. For me, that was (and is) far more frightening than anything
that can be conjured from fiction.'
But Luther's writing doesn't cover the ordinary clichés of the fantasy
novel or horror film: `the reader won't find babies or virgins being
sacrificed, naked moonlight dances or candlelit pentagons. There isn't even
a hint of goat.' The feel of Doomsday Fate is coupled with an imagination
that might envisage the communication of dead souls trapped in clocks,
dolls, bespoke Cluedo boards, typewriters and paintings.
Luther brings the macabre supernatural into the modern day setting, where
ordinary people live ordinary lives. There is a cinematic quality to the
dialogue where characters reveal themselves through action rather than
description. The subplot to Dark Covenant however, bears the marks of a
profound Dickensian influence. Dark Covenant carries echoes of the
Victorian set thrillers of Phillip Pullman's The Sally Lockhart Series or
G. W Dahlquist's The Glass Book of Dream Eaters. The themes and aspirations
of the characters however, are as much of today as they are of the seedy
underbelly of the past.