THIS STORY TAKES
PLACE BETWEEN THE
NOVELS "ST. ANTHONY'S
FIRE" AND "PARASITE."
OFFICIAL VIRGIN 'NEW
RELEASED IN NOVEMBER
The TARDIS FINDS ITSELF
imprisoned in a house
where a man is ready
to commence A VITAL
experiment that will
remake the world.
A stranger dressed
in grey watches from
a hillside, searching
for the powers THAT
ARE growing within
the house. A killer
appears from the
determined to carry
out her MOST deadly
instructions. In the
events AND waiting
to take on flesh and
And trapped in alien
darkness, the last
survivor of a doomed
race mourns for the
lost planet Earth.
Falls the Shadow
Blimey. This is a strange one. A strange one that, I have to say, I enjoyed immensely. As with so many of these New Adventures, the cover and the blurb completely failed to grab my attention, and I also have to admit to being quite put off by the sheer size of this novel; I’m a lazy reader, after all! However, once I’d begun the mammoth undertaking of reading Falls the Shadow, I soon found myself enthralled by debut novelist Daniel O’Mahony’s moody little world.
The bulk of this novel is so claustrophobic that you can almost feel it choking you. The house, Shadowfell, has all the eerie character of Gabriel Chase’s mansion in Ghost Light, together with far more compelling characters than you would find in that story, I dare say.
Each and every character in this
novel is an enigma, fascinating
the reader. We have the beautiful
and sexy young woman, Sandra,
torn between her feelings for a
fiancée who’s lost his mind and
a man without a face; Cranleigh,
Sandra’s fiancé, driven insane
by an experiment in interstitial
time (yep, that old “between now
and now” chestnut); Truman, the man in the mask with a cloudy past; Jane Page, a fanatical killer sent to kill the scientist behind these experiments; and Winterdawn, her crippled target. And then we have Gabriel and Tanith - two physically perfect entities that are somewhat more difficult to explain. Essentially, they are are the pain of the suffering of all those who have had their possible futures erased by the meddling of time travellers given form. Playful sadists, this duo are a terrifying unstoppable force; captivating in the most masochistic of ways.
However, many find that Falls the Shadow falls down here. Its pseudo-metaphysical aspects are certainly alluring, but they are mind-bogglingly difficult for even a hardened Doctor Who fan to wrap his brain around. Indeed, there’s one character I haven’t mentioned in this review - the enigmatic ‘Grey Man’ whose domain, the Cathedral, we have to endure for about 100 pages at the novel’s end – precisely because I haven’t a clue who he is or how he fits into things. He’s definitely not a Time Lord or time traveller per se; he’s not even a hazy, ‘neutral’ Guardian as I’d originally suspected. Even the Doctor and Benny don’t seem able to fathom the character, each harbouring opposing views about him.
“You and I, Ace and Truman, Gabriel and Tanith, Page and Winterdawn, and…
and Cranleigh. I never thought murder could seem so beautiful.”
In any event, I’d recommend this novel on the strength of the characters alone - and not just O’Mahony’s original protagonists, but the regulars too. I don’t think I can recall the last time that the Doctor, Benny, and Ace were all handled so well and so equally. There is a major twist about a third of the way through concerning one of them that is that is handled excruc-iatingly brilliantly by the author. As I’ve already intimated though, the last third of this one is hard going, and if you struggled with stories like Ghost Light on television then this probably isn’t the best reading choice for you.
On a final note, I think O’Mahony’s indelible style warrants special mention. His very dark, very brutal prose is electrifying to read but is certainly not for the squeamish. It’s like a weird cross between a Marc Platt novel and a Quentin Tarantino movie. Tantalising stuff....
Copyright © E.G. Wolverson 2006
E.G. Wolverson has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, 1988 to be identified as the author of this work.
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