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The Matrix [Hardcover]

Jonathan Aycliffe
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)

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Book Description

7 Nov 1994
Angus McLeod arrives in Edinburgh to take up a university post. His work involves an investigation of local occult groups, leading to dreams of a dark cathedral with a hooded congregation. Haunted by strange sounds and voices, he encounters the Church of Eternal Wisdom and its shadowy leader.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 176 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; First Edition edition (7 Nov 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0002241617
  • ISBN-13: 978-0002241618
  • Product Dimensions: 23.4 x 15 x 3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 445,804 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


An intelligent, unnerving tale... that, like the smell of a damp church, slowly seeps into your bones (Time Out)

Scary stuff (OK!)

You'll be frightened to turn the page... but you'll still want to. (Northern Echo) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Book Description

From the author of the psychological masterpiece Naomi's Room --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Terrifyingly convincing! 22 Nov 2013
By still searching TOP 1000 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
When the film of the Exorcist was first released to all of the accompanying now well known ‘who-ha’ I went to see what all the fuss was about and came away unimpressed. Than night I woke about 3 a.m. and gradually it occurred to me what I’d seen the night before and a feeling of dread increasingly overcame me. Reading this book was a similar experience. The prose is quite plain, in keeping with a straightforward narrative account of a man who feels compelled to record certain experiences he’s had for the benefit of others. The opening scenes are set in Edinburgh and centre on an academic sociologist who is given a contract at the university to conduct research into the prevalence of satanic cults in and around the city. He begins by insinuating himself into various groups in order to learn more about their affairs and to use their libraries. Eventually, he gets ‘taken up’ by one of the city’s leading barristers who is a member of one such cult, The Fraternity of the Old Path, who offers to act as a kind of mentor and allow him access to valuable literary resources that would otherwise be ‘forbidden’. From the outset he senses that his mentor might potentially be a dangerous man to know but he cannot turn down the opportunities he presents. After a fairly prosaic beginning, there is a progressive feeling of dread emanating from the narrative as though the protagonist is being drawn, in spite of his knowledge of the consequences, into a dark shadowy world that is palpably evil and from which there is no turning back.

Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos has been mentioned elsewhere in relation to this novel and I can almost understand why. I’m a fan of Lovecraft and find his stories, for the most part, entertaining.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I'd like to point out that The Matrix was originally published in 1994 and it's true to say some of the themes now seem somewhat old fashioned and the dialogue's dated. Try and stay with it. Although not a modern horror, by any means, I found this pacy, intelligently written supernatural mystery thoroughly enjoyable though not remotely scary.

Aycliffe writes in a style that's more about mystery and intrigue, building an atmosphere, than it is about making you leap off the edge of your seat and he does it well. His intelligent plotting and character development make him quite unique in this genre and set him apart from contemporary horror writers who rely much more on the shock factor.

The core of The Matrix features the character of Andrew Macleod, recently widowed, a man reeling from the effects of grief and unable to come to terms with the loss of his wife. In the midst of his sorrow Andrew begins to look for answers, and hope, in the field of black magic where he becomes embroiled in the life of the deviant Duncan Mylne a master of the arcane and generally 'nasty'. As the plot moves along it becomes more and more obvious how dangerous Mylne is becoming but; the only person who can't see it is Andrew who buries his head in the sand and refuses to listen to the warnings. Events continue to build through a series of eerie supernatural scenes until people begin the die, ghostly entities arrive and we are introduced to the Matrix and possibly the secret of eternal life.

Good storytelling, well crafted, enjoyable tale of betrayal and the supernatural.
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30 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant horror - classy and scary as hell!! 7 Jan 2004
I'm a big fan of Jonathan Aycliffe - especially of this, his best book yet.
I hate being classed as a horror fan, because so much of what passes for horror is mindless drivel. As a teenager, I read lots of MR James, Edgar Allen Poe and HP Lovecraft (as well as the short stories of Daphne Du Maurier, which I strongly recommend) I got a taste for horror that was classy, understated, literary and very very chilling.
Aycliffe fits that category. The Matrix is a wonderfully evocative modern tale of necromancy stretching from the grey city streets of Edinburgh to the noisy exotic bazaars of Morocco. Andrew McLeod throws himself into his university career following the death of his young wife, but soon becomes entangled with a sinister sect, obsessed with the pursuit of eternal life and raising the dead.
Classy, camp and chilling, this is a rivetting read. I've lent it round, and all my friends adored it (even if it gave them sleepless nights!)
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Truly terrifying! 7 Mar 2012
By Matthew
I read all of Jonathan Aycliffe's books about 15 years ago whilst a student and I've just started to re-read them, they are exquisitely written, dark, compelling and disturbing. At the time I remembered them as being the most sinister and haunting 'things' I had ever encountered; I haven't changed my mind. What I can't understand is why he is not a world best selling author?
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Winter chiller 7 Jan 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Jonathan Aycliffe has written a few novels, all excellent, that fall into the 'English Ghost Story' tradition. This is one of his finest, deeply influenced by other masters of the genre, most notably M.R.James, it tracks the journey of a young Scottish academic into an entanglement with the occult. A bereaved, rather fragile, young man falls into the company of a sinister leader of a powerful cult and learns that there is a dark side. Aycliffe does not add a great deal that is new to his re-working of well-used theme, but it is chillingly realised and a sense of oppressive horror runs through the novel. A good read for a dark winter's night.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars The Matrix
It took a while for me to get into the style of writing but once I did wow what a read. Not your every day run of the mill book. Dark, mysterious and a bit spooky. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Winnie
3.0 out of 5 stars لا شكرا
The Matrix is a gothic horror, written in the kind of scientific first person style of Sheridan Le Fanu. Except, unlike Le Fanu, it is set in the here and now. Read more
Published 6 months ago by MisterHobgoblin
4.0 out of 5 stars great book
Another great book by this author. None of hid books have disappointed me and this was no exception. Well w or t h reading
Published 6 months ago by Hollycat
2.0 out of 5 stars not for me
never managed to suspend disbelief and so couldn't finish it. Ghosts, sects, the occult , yada yada throw in dull characters and good luck if you get half way
Published 6 months ago by Hampstead Mackem
4.0 out of 5 stars Good book
Yes, this is a very enjoyable book and quite exciting. Kept me turning the pages and was sorry when it ended
Published 7 months ago by doreen binks
4.0 out of 5 stars Creepy!!
An atmospheric tale that will hold your imagination throughout.

Dark and almost oppressive, this novel explores the occult, travelling from Scotland (so much good... Read more
Published 7 months ago by D. Foot
4.0 out of 5 stars the matrix
Scary. Not to be read at night, as I did to start with. Good tale. I will read more by this author
Published 7 months ago by Constance
4.0 out of 5 stars Underrated author of spooky brilliance
Aycliffe is one of my favorite authors and I have missed him. He's been out of print for so long, and I am glad a publisher has decided to bring his work out of limbo. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Percival Anderson
4.0 out of 5 stars The Matrix
This is an intriguing piece of gothic fiction. Unlike many gothic works this is actually well written which made for a pleasant surprise. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Kindle Customer
3.0 out of 5 stars A book of two halves.
the first half of the book draws you in to the plot successfully. The characters are beleivable and well written and the sinister atmosphere is well conveyed. Read more
Published 8 months ago by gordon chalk
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