Written by: Wesley Thomas
The immediate observation I made when reading this novel, was the incredibly graphic nature of the narrative. Never have I read so much clear and vivid depictions of everything. From action, character appearances and breath-taking landscapes. These expressive accounts of every aspect, construct a naturalistic vibe, you can almost smell the salty sea, see the cliff’s grand height and imagine the luminous lighthouse in your mind’s eye. It’s as if the writer sat in amongst the turmoil as it prevailed, noticing every tiny pixel and conveying it factually and imaginatively. The radical progression of locations, from the woods, lighthouse, houses, pubs, labs, chapels and other places, sustain a relentless mood as well as the collaboration with a variety of other feelings in each venue.
The actual story was flawlessly written, suspicions begin to arise from the very get go of arriving in the village and becoming surrounded by passive, creepy, quiet and subtly intimidating locals. These incomprehensible villagers threaten and startle the reader, which due to their unresponsive nature is bizarre, and manufactures curiosity when they pursue an innocent tourist. This is the first of many sharp hooks that reel you into this warped fictional universe.
A range of conundrums appear, some intellectually arousing, others frightening, but your inner unhealthy inquisitiveness begs for the answer driving the reader into a Welsh war. Setting particular segments in the woods with ongoing storylines is magnificent. As you question if they will run into each other, with the woods being the perfect station for tension by foes being able to cloak themselves in the darkness or behind a tree.
The adversaries using the welsh language becomes unnerving and unsettling, especially given that the villagers are portrayed as being robot-like and not showing a trace of humanity or emotion by their frozen faces and mono-tonal voices.
Each characterisation for the protagonists was superb, each having various motives for visiting the island, each creating a thirst for knowledge of their own demented histories. Some of the character histories will no doubt create a level of empathy from many readers dealing with many diverse issues. The character of Lord John has to be mentioned. Hatred is cleverly expressed through him, we as an audience begin to loathe and despise him and his so called infinite wisdom and deluded superiority. Whilst simultaneously, his motives and lectures about the world from his viewpoint are undeniably and admittedly fascinating. But also alarming, conveying his true sadistic, chauvinistic, and righteous nature. But even towards the end we are still being fed with the pasts of some of the characters, receiving more information, bringing into existence people that are real and driven by traumatic experiences, or family mysteries, not fictional one dimensional characters.
The greatest revelation is the strange but quiet village being broken by a conspiracy, which is slowly injected into the story during mindless carnage.
Proverbs and quotes to open chapters provide an insightful addition to the techniques and conventions used. Props have to go to the author for the welsh language insertions, not only must a great deal of research have been swallowed, but it does create an unexplainable feeling to the book, one that you cannot quite put your finger on.
There are moments of pure terror hidden in this novel waiting in bated breath to paralyse you with fear. They will penetrate unknown angsts and leave a gash in your subliminal memory.
An underlying theme that the novel thrives on is the one of power, with most of the characters craving it in some way, whether physical or intellectual. Whilst others have a false pretence of power, constructing a sense of social status. A constant power struggle is evident in the action if you look deeper behind what really drives each character.
A tale that mercilessly tortures and whittles down your sanity then locks you in a dark room to suffer your aberrations until they destroy you.
Don’t miss this one, get it here!