Wednesday, 26 April 2017

The List of Seven

Mark Frost

Dark Brotherhood
As the city of London slumbers, there are those in its midst who conspire to rule the world through the darkest and most nefarious means. These seven, seated in positions of extraordinary power and influence, marshal forces from the far side to aid them in their fiendish endeavour.
Force of One
In the aftermath of a bloody séance and a terrifying supernatural contact, a courageous young doctor finds himself drawn into a malevolent conspiracy beyond human comprehension.
All or Nothing
The future is not safe, as a thousand-year reign of pure evil is about to begin, unless a small group of stalwart champions can unravel the unspeakable mysteries behind a crime far more terrible than murder.

On Christmas Eve, whilst at home reading, a young doctor named Arthur Conan Doyle is surprised to find under his door a letter asking him to attend a seance the next day in order to help the writer, a young woman.  So begins an exhausting adventure for the Doctor as he is saved from attack by an enigmatic young man who, along with a small crew of 'Regulars' is involved in an investigative hunt for the shadowy figure who lurks behind all the crime in England.

Now, I'm sure much of this sounds very familiar and the book is framed as Doyle's inspiration for the creation of his most famous character.  The story is an exhausting ride that reminded me very much of the Robert Downey Jr Sherlock movies and also G.W. Dahlquist's 'Glass Books of the Dream Eaters' series.  The latter in particular as they share a mix of science and magic without seemingly knowing what to do with either and ending up not doing much with them at all.

The plot never sits still and neither do the characters. The ending when it comes is sudden and a little unsatisfying but I was mollified slightly by the various codas that take the stories further but at a remove.  Frost's writing is dense but easy and with little to remind you of his TV background in the deluge of reflection and puzzlement that makes up Doyle's internal monologue.

I often found myself thinking that the book essentially was just Frost entertaining himself playing with some favourite characters but luckily along the way he managed to entertain me too.

Buy it here: The List of 7

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