The cover of this book is what first caught my attention. It is quite well done. Then the description of the story inside enticed me into making the decision that this was a novel I wanted to read. From seeing the sword I thought I would probably be encountering some fantasy aspects regarding swords and sorcery and I was all ready for that. A sword I got, some mystical elements I got, a good book I did not get.
It appears to me that these two writers decided that their collaboration for this novel would be based on shock and repetition. One of the elements of repetition was shown in the trite ending sentences of most of the chapters. I rolled my eyes and soldiered on. The problem for me regarding shock tactics was that once the element providing the shock had been revealed the repetition of that element kept me from being shocked any longer. Decapitation? Sure, if once is a shock why not repeat it many more times. Blood and gore present in such large quantities that the carpet squishes when it is stepped on? Sure, only after that first time repetitions become completely anti-climactic. Have a character who can only be transported to the astral world by holding back the ultimate moment of sexual pleasure? Sure, just have The Dark Man (Ahriman) and his wife, psychic and witch (Vyvienne) engage in sex so often that it becomes a totally meaningless exercise. Was it simply laziness on the part of the authors which kept them from finding other methods for Vyvienne to use to travel out into the astral world? Because that is how she continued to pinpoint where the objects, the Hallows, and the horrible henchmen were located at that moment.
This is the story of thirteen common objects which became imbued with magical properties when they were used to seal a portal which bound demons from reentering our world and feasting on human flesh and blood. These Hallows had been protected through thousands of years by Keepers originally chosen specifically for that task and then the Keeper passed down the protection of their object within their own blood line. For some reason which I didn't quite get all thirteen objects had to have new Keepers at the same time and the chief keeper found a group of thirteen children who had been evacuated from London during World War II to the Welsh town of Madoc. Seventy years have now passed. One of the Keepers, Judith Walker, has been noticing that the Keepers are dying violent, unnatural deaths and she knows someone is trying to gather all the Hallows together to use the power they contain to make themselves ruler of the demons. After her home is burglarized in an effort to kill her and take the Hallow she has been guarding Judith entrusts her story to the young woman who came to her rescue on a London city street.
Does that sound interesting to you? Well, perhaps it might have been if there had been any character development whatsoever. Add to that the almost constant bombardment to the senses with torture, blood, gore, evil, decapitation, disembowelment, and let's not forget the sex. And the use of the word *naked*. I truly wish I had kept a count of how many times that word appears in this novel. Could the authors not have changed it up a little? Nude, disrobed, unclothed, bare? Every once in a while changed *naked* to something else? I will give them credit for one aspect of the story though, when the final body count was totaled, they did resist using the number 666. Instead we get 622 plus the bad guys, plus the good guys, but still it doesn't reach that 666 total. Oh, and don't even let me get started on the poor police officers these authors constructed or why they thought it was a good idea to have thirteen victims who were all between seventy five and seventy eight years old.
Because I read so many books I'm often asked, not which is the best book I've ever read, no, because I've just been talking to that person about a really good book I think they might enjoy. Instead I am most often asked what is the worst book I've ever read. I don't normally have an answer for that. From now on I will. I have given some books a one star rating in my reviews on Amazon. I feel now that I should go back and raise those to two stars because for me this is, without a doubt, the worst book I have ever read.