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Sunday, 17 April 2016

Book review - The Labyrinth (Night Hunter #6)

 At last, The Labyrinth (1987), the final novel in the Night Hunter series (#6) begun in 1983.  So, by some writing standards, reaching the conclusion with the sixth book after four years isn’t too bad. Some series feature a specific character who has unrelated adventures; other series are motivated by a quest initiated in the first book and continued through the remainder, with in passing, resolutions of some plot issues, but still no answer to the initial problem. Night Hunter falls into this second category, and benefits from a finite length.

For Daniel Brady, the problem was that followers of the entity Arachne invaded his home, left him for dead and abducted his wife, daughter and son to use for their obscure esoteric purposes.  Gradually, through the different books, Dan (recovered and driven) learns a little more about Arachne and  meets other individuals who are fighting the same evil. Along the way, there are casualties.

Now, contacted by a ghost of a character from the third book, Dan is given a clue to the whereabouts of at least one of his children. It’s near Hadrian’s Wall. A small village there has been plagued by unaccountable deaths and tragedy for forty years – and seemingly they could be linked, if only somebody would make the connection.

Dan witnesses the bizarre death of the town’s priest and suspects there are a number of people in the village hell-bent on helping Arachne. Yet he elicits help from surprising quarters, and in the process uncovers a poignant history of the builder of the labyrinth, a man who only seeks freedom from Arachne, but at what cost to him?

There are neat shifts in time, past, and parallel present, and enough tense moments throughout this finale to keep the reader turning the pages. Faulcon writes some clever prose twists that suggest something that is not the case in a late cliff-hanger. There is heroism and sacrifice, and happily several threads are finally tied together, evolving into a satisfying end to a finite series.

It’s taken me thirty years to get round to reading these books on my bookshelves, and I’m pleased I finally found the time.

As the cover of the book reveals, Robert Faulcon was one of the pen-names used by Robert Holdstock, who died in 2009, aged 61. He also wrote books in several other series.

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