The Wolves of London - The Obsidian Heart Trilogy (Book 1) by Mark Morris
|The Wolves of London - The Obsidian Heart Trilogy (Book 1) by Mark Morris|
|Reviewer: Ani Johnson|
|Summary: Genre-bashing thriller/horror/fantasy first-of-trilogy par excellence as a robber doing that fatal 'just one more job' bites off more than he (or the things he uncovers) can chew. (Warning: 11/10 on the gore-ometer so not for the weak-tummed.)|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 352||Date: October 2014|
|Publisher: Titan Books|
|External links: Author's website|
Alex Locke has grown from the young petty criminal he once was. Now a psychology lecturer with a beautiful 5-year-old daughter he has every incentive he needs to stay straight. It would take something devastating to make him return to his former life but devastation happens. Alex is coerced into doing on last job: stealing a piece of heart shaped obsidian from someone it didn’t belong to in the first place. What are the consequences? What's so special about this piece of rock? As all hell breaks loose, Alex is about to find out.
British author Mark Morris has written a myriad of successful horror and TV spin-off novels and it all started with a government scheme. Yes, he started writing in 1988 while on an Enterprise Allowance Scheme. His debut novel Toady was published a year later. Now, people who know me will confirm that I don't often thank any government for anything but I'm now suddenly grateful for Enterprise Allowance; the reason being that Mark Morris is an amazing discovery. Don't just take my word for it – Clive Barker says so too.
For this, the first of Mark's Obsidian Heart Trilogy Mark mashes up his trademark horror with a thriller and a dollop of urban fantasy, slightly seasoned with steampunk, producing something don't-turn-that-light-off marvellous.
Alex is a bloke who's learnt from his past and has grown but now he has no choice but to do just one more robbery. We all know that the phrase 'just one more robbery' equates to someone telling a Star Trek landing party member he can't wear the same colour top as everyone else, but that doesn't prepare any of us for what lays ahead.
We empathise with this credible hero therefore our nails develop ragged edges very quickly when he starts running from entities that can't be outrun for long. The beings have a touch of Dr Who/Torchwood about them in a good way, which isn’t surprising as Mark has written spin off books under both brands. However they're post-post watershed Dr Who/Torchwood as their calling cards are dripping with wading-depth gore. Having said that, it's all in keeping with that feeling of credibility; even the clockwork elements that seem a little silly to begin with take on meaning by the last page.
It's not just what Mark creates that leaves us speechless though, but how he creates it. I'm desperately trying not to give anything away about the heart's powers, but some of the twists (especially towards the end) are gaspingly good and can only be achieved (I'm guessing) by the trilogy having been written simultaneously. (Mark, please feel free to confirm or deny!) Even this early on we begin to realise that the three parts will bleed into each other in an ingeniously understandable way. The supporting cast of Frank (love him!) and Clover add to this impression of specialness as there are times when Alex fears they're the only people who understand what's going on.
Indeed Mark has produced a scary, intriguing, heart-stopping work that fans will discuss for years to come. However it's also there to be enjoyed and absorbed by those who have never read a Morris original before, so dive on in. Then, when the book ends leaving us in mid-gasp and the withdrawals start, be comforted by the knowledge that Book #2 (The Society of Blood) and Book #3 (The Wraiths of War) are out in 2015 and 2016 although that seems a long way off at the moment.
(Thank you so much to Titan Books for providing us with a copy for review.)
Further Reading: If this appeals then we also heartily (Ha! Ha!) recommend Ian Tregillis' Milkweed Triptych.
You can read more book reviews or buy The Wolves of London - The Obsidian Heart Trilogy (Book 1) by Mark Morris at Amazon.co.uk Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
You can read more book reviews or buy The Wolves of London - The Obsidian Heart Trilogy (Book 1) by Mark Morris at Amazon.com.
The Wolves of London - The Obsidian Heart Trilogy (Book 1) by Mark Morris is in the Top Ten Fantasy Novels of 2014.
Like to comment on this review?
Just send us an email and we'll put the best up on the site.