Top positive review
17 people found this helpful
Ritual, Alchemy, World War 1 and a missing book collector.
on 26 May 2013
The Wanderer in Unknown Realms is a well written and eerie short story. The plot spins around the search for a missing book collector, Lionel Maulding, and the mystery surrounding a rare 'Atlas' for which it appears he paid a huge sum of money. Into the mix arrives the character of Soter who has been hired to investigate the matter. Once Soter arrives at the crumbling, Gothic, Bromdrum Hall with it's seemingly 'ghostly' happenings the plot opens up into the world of alchemy, the frantic world of occult book collecting and ritual. I'm not going any deeper into the plot except to say the background of World War 1 with it's trenches full of mud and blood is beautifully worked and an ideal stage for this mystery to be set against. I'll also have to give great credit to John Connolly for his fantastic characters who are a mix of the likeable and the 'really not'.
Connolly has managed to produce a dark, extremely surreal, story which spins the reader from the impact of the Great War up into the realms of Alistair Crowley, Magick and the, possible, rebirth of someone not at all pleasant!. Plenty of brooding atmosphere and a slow building tension which is superbly done when you consider this is a short story. I'm trying so hard not to give spoilers.
My only word of caution; don't expect Charlie Parker or a host of gun slinging, demonic, anti-heroes. The Wanderer isn't a departure from what Connolly does best but it's written in a different style. He's put a complete spin on his usual themes and I was reminded of H.P. Lovecraft, travel through different realms, which I enjoyed. There's some gore and moderate violence with slight horror elements which are unlikely to shock but; The Wanderer in Unknown Realms is a decent short story for any fan of 'weird fiction'.