Thursday, 20 January 2011

Love, war, ghosts and personal damnation

The first official review of SPARROWHAWK has now appeared, courtesy of the inestimable Mario Guslandi, writing on HELL NOTES, and I’m pleased to say that it’s very positive.

At the risk of seeming a tad conceited, here is an excerpt:

Sparrowhawk is a novella of merely 127 pages, defined as “a Victorian ghost story” masterfully blending different fictional elements. Partly it’s a historical tableau – the story is set in London in 1843 and features an Afghan war veteran who, at the beginning of the story lies in a debtor’s prison – depicting with efficacy the features of life during Victorian England.

A mysterious and fascinating employer recruits Sparrowhawk to guard and protect the inhabitants of a London house against unspecified enemies which soon will reveal their true, supernatural nature. Thus the novella soon becomes a ghostly, horrific tale full of creepy surprises.

In addition Finch manages to squeeze into the tale a fleeting love story which will briefly soothe the Captain’s emotional pain deriving from a past private tragedy.

Reading this book is a pleasure for any lover of good fiction. I warmly invite you to partake in this pleasure.

If you fancy reading the rest (and yes, there’s more), don’t let me stop you:

SPARROWHAWK was a special project for me, as it combined a number of my personal interests: myth, folklore, historical adventure and of course supernatural weirdness. (I also love ghost stories set around Christmas too, but as I’m penning this in January, that would seem a superfluous point).

The picture is Remnants of an Army by Elizabeth Butler. It depicts a lone British survivor struggling back to base after the gruesome massacre on the road between Kabul and Jellalabad in 1842, and could – as those who’ve read SPARROWHAWK will know – have been purpose-painted to illustrate one particular moment in the book. Actually, the battle scenes in Afghanistan have drawn a variety of responses from readers thus far, ranging from “very evocative” to “worryingly reminiscent of current events” to “far too bloodthirsty”.

Well, war is Hell, as they say. And when it comes to depicting the hellish, I’ve never believed in holding back. If anyone agrees or disagrees with any of these sentiments, don’t hesitate to let me know.

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