Thursday, 24 February 2022
Sunday, 20 February 2022
I thought I'd list the contributors and throw in little samples from their stories, too.
To kick off, I’ll have to admit how much I loved to watch Gregory sitting so elegantly in his office chair, his slim legs crossed, that charming smile on his face, talking the good talk. It was easy to admire his fatal facility, the knack of being able to speak well on almost any subject, to entertain, inform or divert attention from an awkward question. It’s a skill I all too obviously lack. I’ve never had any charm or elegance myself. I’m good with facts and figures, that’s all, and I like to think I can recognise talent when I see it.
Thursday, 3 February 2022
I paused in my reading of this fascinating book to make a note of this remark by one key character:
"When Hegel called Giordano Bruno 'Bacchantic' he didn't mean it as a compliment."
This is not a conventional horror novel. The speaker is Aridela, a beautiful woman who becomes the lover and 'perfect Priestess' of Cyrus. The latter's quest to discover the truth about the long-vanished artist Gaunt takes him into the realm of a group of wealthy cultists, to which Aridela belongs. At first, it seems he has found his spiritual home. This is despite the fact that Cyrus is working-class and lacks formal education. But then the actual Bacchantic ritual of the Pan worshippers takes place, and things become rather unpleasant. Weighell handles the transition from erudite table talk to extreme violence with consummate skill.
Cyrus, appalled by what he has seen, breaks up with Aridela and returns to the grim round of dead-end jobs and solitary questing after arcane truths. Eventually, this takes him to a seaside town where he attempts to question Westfall, a sick old man who knows something of ritual magic. At first, Westfall seems harmless enough, but Cyrus soon comes to realise that he has strayed into a very dangerous presence. He makes the mistake of being too flippant with Westfall and suffers for it. Without going into details, our hero narrowly avoids falling victim to a very well-realised supernatural menace.
I received a review copy of this book. And a rather lovely book it is, too. As expected with Swan River, the cover is a true work of art. ...
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