There is a killer loose on the streets of London, one that evades security cameras, is not held by locks, and savagely mutilates his victims. When the murderer switches from unknown prostitutes to Julie Longmuir, a beautiful actress at the height of her success, no woman feels safe. As the press begin to draw uncomfortable comparisons with Jack the Ripper, Jane Sullivan, heading up the police investigation, grudgingly has to agree. But the religious writing, scrawled on the wall in Julie Longmuir's blood, is outside Jane's area of expertise. Roping in Jacob Prior, a disillusioned theologian, they attempt to pick apart the demonic delusions of this Ripper copycat. They must act quickly, as events are spiralling out of control, and Jane is next on the killer's list.
Jane will be tested beyond the limits of standard police work, as the esoteric insinuates itself into the investigation. For events are linked to the clandestine Priory in the Pyrenees, the home of a secret Christian sect that pre-dates the Knights Templar. Jane and Jacob are faced with a deeper mystery than they had ever dreamed of; are they simply dealing with a psychopath, or is this something bigger, is this The End of Days?
©2014 Francis Cottam (P)2014 Audible Studios
I use audible because I am too lazy to hold a book.
Such a detailed and intriguing plot and excellently wrought descriptions and characterisation, superbly narrated will mean that I will certainly listen to this book again.
This is the second novel of Cottam's I have listened to and it is so vastly superior in terms of thematic complexity and written skill that it could almost be by a different author. It reminded me a little of The Name of The Rose and did not shy away from religious or moral debate; avoiding the stereotype of the peodophilic Catholic priest was also refreshing.
The narration by Sean Barrett is a particular highlight. His rendering, partially of foreign accents, are flawless and make this a real 'performance' rather than just a reading.
Absolutely! In fact, I even downloaded it onto my phone so I could continue listening while doing errands away from my iPad.
A few previous reviews have criticised Cottam for straying away from familiar territory. I'm glad that he had the courage to do so. I think the skill with which he achieves this complex and rather chilling commentary regarding themes not only common to people across cultures but also recognising concerns that are apparent through millennia, impressively deep compared to the enjoyable but, by comparison, rather vapid work that he has previously produced. One reviewer even criticised, and expected a refund for, content (which he found unpalatable) that was clearly detailed in the blurb - what fools these mortals be!
The superb reading by Sean Barrett. His understated style matched perfectly the dark subject matter. I found myself listening not to Sean, but to the characters themselves and to my own thoughts expressing the descriptive parts. I suppose that was what you might call an immersive experience, and it was made possible by the skill of the reader whose own character did not intrude.
The plot brings a fresh approach to the serial killer story, linking it to a subtle supernatural element. I know that is not to everyone's taste, but I enjoyed it. At its root it was an intriguing tail of basic good versus evil. I have a theology degree and know that there is no 'Lazarus Prophecy' and no secret order of the Gospel of St John set up by Peter, the first leader of the Christian Church. However I still had to remind myself from time to time that this was a work of fiction. It was good, too, to see the Catholic Church treated a bit more seriously. I suspect that this is a book that Dan Brown would wish he had written, and never could in a hundred years.
He doesn't allow his personality to intrude. He lets the story do the talking. Of course, his voice is very easy to listen to, and he always seems to find the truth of the characters - you can't imagine them in any other voice. I particularly liked his reading of the irishman's journal.
Yes. I was utterly absorbed by it, and found the two confrontations with the killer almost unbearably tense.
I hesitated over buying this recording. Some other reviews gave me cause to doubt. I am very glad I took a chance on it. It's one of the very best available from Audible.
Great apocalyptic tale in the well established format and style of Fg Cottam, less horror and more apocalypse thriller. Only one error in this one, Vladimir of Sebastopol couldn't have caught a demon the 1300s. Sebastopol wasn't founded until the Russians colonized Crimea in the 1780s. The former Greek Colonia which Sebastopol was built on eventually, lasted until the early 1300s when it was sacked by the Mongols. So if Vladimir had caught a demon there it certainly wasn't in Sebastopol.
Having read all of F.G. Cottams books, and enjoyed them greatly, I decided, for a change, to listen to one. What a treat. Sean Barretts interpretation was inspired, his voices and accents beautifully done.To my ear, he made the characters believable and added just the right amount of menace. I thoroughly enjoyed it, so much so, that although I read 'The Waiting Room', when it came out, indeed it's my favourite of all his books, I shall buy the Audible book to hear his reading.
The narration and editing. Sean Barrett wasn't terrible but deciphering the voices he used for the different characters often took concious effort, especially when dipping in an out of the book (which is kind of the whole point of choosing audio rather than a physical book!)
Worst, at 3:38:01 there is a clear error (Barrett stumbles, pauses, makes a comment to himself and then rereads) that nobody bothered to edit out
The story was great, I do so love F.G. Cottam. Very gripping story!
Sean Barrett was just about okay, David Rintoul would have been a better choice - he would have given real life to an excellent story.
Disappointment. I was hoping for a new Brodmaw Bay/Magdalena Curse/Waiting Room which it probably would have been had I chosen a physical book instead of an audiobook.
Pretty poor show not to bother editing out obvious errors before publishing
I'm sorry to say that, for me, the narration completely detracted from the story. There was no apparent differentiation between characters speaking, no full stops and even chapters blended into one another. A real shame as I think the story was good and the narrator's voice atmospherically gravelly, but the reading style just didn't do either justice.
Although I agree with other reviewers that Sean Barrett's narration doesn't even come close to David Rintoul's earlier narration of Cottam's works, I did not find it so poor as to interfere with my enjoyment of the story.
I'm a Cottam fan, and he has always written well-rounded female characters, but in this one his main protagonist is a female cop, and he does a really great job not only with her, but with the minor characters too. I like his blend of the mysterious and the uncanny. I also appreciate the cohesiveness of his stories. You never end up getting stuck in the middle of a series. They are all well-constructed little gems that stand alone.
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