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This book was loaned to me from my sister as she knows I like fantasy books. This one is certainly different from those I've read before.
As I've mentioned this is a fantasy novel. Based in the modern day, it has a very dark age twist. Imagine, if you will, life as we know it turned upside-down, when ancient beliefs and gods once again dominate the Earth. All modern technology, including electricity and mobile phones have been destroyed and Man must go back to farming to stay alive as the shops fall empty, apart from the looters, hoping something has been left behind. The Christian Church is under threat and mysterious creatures roam the streets, attacking at will. Salisbury Cathedral offers the only hope for those who still have faith and the Knights of the Templar are reinstated to help fend off the creatures, which pound the cathedral walls night after night. The Christians look on in terror as a "fabulous beast" circles overhead, breathing fire, whilst a group of pagans tap into the Earth's natural energy and recapture the magic our ancestors would have held so dear. Can normality be restored? And has mankind learned its lessons?
The story begins with Mallory as he journeys to Salisbury, where he's heard that the cathedral is allowing sanctuary to those willing to help reinstate the Church. Despite being a non-believer, there is one thing Mallory does believe in - self preservation, and is willing to do anything to stay alive. He is a complicated man who is reluctant to reveal anything about his past. I can't really say too much about him without giving away the plot.
===Ease of Reading===
I have to admit I found this book quite hard to read at times. Even the first few pages I had to read over again, as the image of orang-utans with the faces of children baffled my mind. The chapters are very long and I found myself in a battle with the book. I wasn't overly interested in what happened next, but was not going to be beaten! As Magnus Magnuson would have said, I'd started, so I would finish. Chadbourn isn't an author I'm familiar with, but his writing style is certainly one of detail. Although it wasn't an easy read, he certainly transports you to Salisbury and you see all the weird and wonderful creatures thought up by the writer.
I am not a religious person, but I did feel, at times, the book was very "anti-Christianity" whether that was intended or not. Some of the issues tackled in the book, including sexuality, leaderships and death are taken to quite a graphic level, which can be uncomfortable to read. The book does become slightly easier to read as you progress through the pages, but I feel the ending - which I won't reveal - is both confusing and disappointing. If you enjoy fantasy novels and feel you would like something a bit different to the usual kingdoms of long ago, then I would recommend you give this a try. I wouldn't suggest this book for those under 15 really, owing to the challenging and sometimes disturbing nature of the plot.
Priced at £7.99, this might be one to consider if you're heading away for the weekend.
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