|Season of the Witch by Natasha Mostert|
|Category: General Fiction|
|Reviewer: Jill Murphy|
|Summary: Enjoyable Gothic style fantasy thriller that rattles along at pace. However, one gets the impression Mostert was determined to tick every possible parapsychology and alchemy box. A wonderful holiday read, but perhaps not one that will stay with you for long.|
|Buy? Maybe||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 544||Date: July 2008|
|Publisher: Bantam Books|
Gabriel Blackstone is a computer hacker and information thief. He and his partner Isidore make an exceedingly comfortable living stealing corporate secrets and selling them on. It's earned Gabriel a London loft apartment and a classy car. And Gabriel likes the good things in life. Hardly a shrinking violet, Gabriel probably regards himself as one of the good things in life.
But Gabriel also has an unusual talent. He is a "remote viewer" - a man with a parapyschological ability to "slam a ride" through the thoughts of another person. Gabriel had been part of a British crime-busting team of remote viewers but his arrogance had contributed to a woman's death, and he no longer slams a ride. Until, that is, an old girlfriend contacts him, asking him to try to find her stepson, who has disappeared in rather mysterious circumstances.
This leads Gabriel to Monk House and the Monk sisters - environmentalists, thrill seekers, psychologists, alchemists, witches. One of the sisters is Gabriel's soul mate, the other a murderess. But which? Morrighan or Minnaloushe?
This enjoyable Gothic fantasy thriller rattles along at great pace. It would make the perfect holiday read. There's nothing too taxing about it - despite the copious references I'll talk about in a minute - and the writing flows remarkably well. It's quite sexy too. Gabriel himself is clearly eye candy and is described very well. The lessons he learns as the plot thickens - and thickens, and thickens, and thickens - make him a much more emotionally attractive character by the end of the book. But the Monk sisters are irresistibly described. No waif like supermodels these - they are voluptuous, strong-minded, highly sensual women.
I'll confess; this kind of thriller fantasy isn't really my kind of thing and the innumerable mentions of witchcraft, alchemy, the US military parapsychology project STARGATE, memory palaces, sigils and lord knows what else did cause me to flag more than once. By the time I was told the Monk sisters were descendants of Dr John Dee, I was fit to scream. Para-anything is not my bag, but if it's yours, you're going to love this book. Mostert has ticked every box I could possibly think of and then some, but I'll admit it was far too many boxes for me.
That said, the plot does rather well at turning up the pressure, then easing off, then turning it back up again, giving the book an unpredictability that was great fun to read.
Highly recommended for fans of the genre, but for everyone else, it's more of a holiday read.
My thanks to the nice people at Bantam for sending the book.
Readers could also try The Glass Books of the Dream Eaters by G W Dahlquist.
You can read more book reviews or buy Season of the Witch by Natasha Mostert at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy Season of the Witch by Natasha Mostert at Amazon.com.
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