Top positive review
4 people found this helpful
Action packed with a dark and intricate plotline.
on 17 May 2009
Back in 1978 we saw the release of James Herbert's fifth novel to be published, entitled `The Spear'. Following on from the likes of `The Rats', `The Fog, `The Survivor' and `Fluke', Herbert's next publication was highly anticipated by a growing audience.
The tale follows the principal character of Harry Steadman, an ex-agent for Mossad (the national intelligence agency for Israel) who now works as one of two partners within a private enquiry agency (similar to a private investigator's). Steadman is somewhat forced into helping out the British Secret Services to expose the organised and powerful fanatic organisation that is currently being run by some of the most powerful men in Britain.
During Steadman's investigations, a much more horrifying truth emerges surrounding this corrupt organisation of Neo-Nazi Thulists. A truth that is submerged in the occult and the dark power this group is attempting to wield from the spear that pierced Christ's side; the Spear of Longinus.
Littered with actual quotes from the likes of Heinrich Himmler and Adolf Hitler, `The Spear' has a storyline that finds itself predominately focussed on the atrocities and sheer evil behind these two historical individuals from World War II. Herbert carefully ties in their past to a modern day scenario. With a detailed complexity to the storyline, Herbert finds himself regularly detailing the plotline to the reader by way of a clichéd `bad guy to good guy explains the elaborate plotline' in an early James Bond movie way. This does come across as quite comical in places, but doesn't detract too much from the developing storyline.
The character of Steadman is another one of Herbert's typical charismatic characters who the reader can find themselves easily identifying with and indeed building up somewhat of a rapport with. His inner-torment at the violence portrayed within the novel, humanises the character, bringing out an array of sympathies from the reader towards the troubled man.
The book has the usual injection of sex and over the top violence that have become almost staple with Herbert's work (obviously with the odd exception here and there such as that of `Fluke'). Like with many of Herbert's novels, `The Spear' starts off as predominately more of an action packed crime thriller than a horror, until the dark and twisted truth is finally revealed. Snippets of the more supernatural side to the tale are thrown in on the odd occasion, but nothing to really sway the overall impression of the tale during the half of the book.
At times the elaborate storyline seems somewhat over complicated for what is actually transpiring. Herbert's intricate plot comes across as too carefully formulated without much thought given to how the explanation will be uncovered and eventually delivered to the reader. This is disappointing, especially from an author of Herbert's calibre.
The ending is suitably dramatic and conclusive. All subplots, however small, are quickly tied up leaving the grand finale to deliver its symbolic conclusion. `The Spear' is certainly not one of Herbert's stronger novels, but still delivers a thoroughly entertaining tale with an action packed storyline and an intricate plot.
The novel runs for a total of 253 pages and was published by New English Library.