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on 8 March 1999
(Actually titled "A Dangerous Energy".) Tobias Oakley lives in a modern-day England in which history took a different course. It never got anywhere near the Industrial Revolution, but all that stuff about witches, elves and demons was true. The Catholic Church has accepted that it can't stamp out sorcery and instead has sought to bring sorcerers within its fold, tempting them with wealth and high office. Tobias, however, is also coveted by the elven realm, who have their own plans for him. He is a harsh and ambitious man, selfish and close to evil; but utterly fascinating. The book follows his disturbing and violent life as he grows in power and status and travels further from all that we recognise as good. One of those perfectly-formed novels, it all comes together in the last paragraph. Whitbourn has written other novels in similar settings (indeed, Tobias shows up for a cameo in one), but whilst they are all worth your time, this is the most focused and satisfying of his books so far, and you will not forget it in a hurry. Brilliant.
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on 19 August 2016
Creative alternate-history setting that really makes you think. The story grapples well with questions of morality, free will (versus spiritual/childhood influence), and religious authority, and might be particularly thought-provoking to people with a familiarity with religion in England and/or Catholicism. The protagonist is well-developed and believable, and remains in your mind after the story. Glad to see it is being made available via Kindle!
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