Tuesday 14 February 2017

Hekla's Children by James Brogden - A Review

Ten or so years ago four children disappeared while on a school outing. Only one returned. The teacher responsible for their safety, Nathan Brookes, although a suspect, was never charged with anything. Nobody knows what happened to the three other children.

Fast forward to the present day and Brookes is now working at an adventure centre in Wales and is convinced he has seen the three missing children. At the same time a body is discovered at the same spot where they vanished. It is dated at been 'Bronze Age' but...there are anomalies. To top things off the one child who returned shows up again with a simple message, "PUT HIM BACK"

I expected I would enjoy this novel as soon as I heard about it. One of the comparisons for it was Robert Holdstock's Mythago Wood, which has long been a favourite of mine and I can happily agree with that. The feel of the 'ancient menace' coupled with the drifting between present and past makes for an atmospheric and unsettling read but a good one at that. As Horror Fiction goes this is a step up from James Herbert and Shaun Hutson and the Holdstock angle makes this book a bit special.

If there was one thing that didn't sit right for me it was later in the book when a main character who has crossed over to the other realm of 'Un' suddenly makes a 'lifestyle choice' with little more thought than 'oh well, let's give it a go'. For me that didn't sit right but that is only a small niggle and doesn't spoil an excellent read.

The realm of Un itself I found to be really interesting, a place where time between different areas of the land passes at different speeds, where you can find that returning to a place after a few days you can find that years have passed.

I have done my best not to drop spoilers here so a good bit of what I could have said I have left out for now - maybe another post when other folks have read it too.

For now though, enough to say an excellent read and an author I will be looking out for in the future


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