Saturday 25 July 2009

Johannes Cabal the Necromancer

Johannes Cabal has never pretended to be a hero of any kind.

There is, after all, little heroic about robbing graves, stealing occult volumes, and being on nodding terms with demons. His purpose, however, is noble. His researches are all directed to raising the dead. Not as monstrosities but as people, just as they were when they lived: physically, mentally, and spiritually. For such a prize, some sacrifices are necessary. One such sacrifice was his own soul, but he now sees that was a mistake - it's not just that he needs it for his research to have validity, but now he realises he needs it to be himself. Unfortunately, his soul now rests within the festering bureaucracy of Hell. Satan may be cruel and capricious but, most dangerously, he is bored. It is Cabal's unhappy lot to provide him with amusement.

In short, a wager: in return for his own soul, Cabal must gather one hundred others. Placed in control of a diabolical carnival and armed only with his intelligence, a very large handgun, and a total absence of whimsy, Cabal has one year.

One year to beat the Devil at his own game. And isn't that perhaps just a little heroic?

Johannes Cabal sold his soul to the devil, but it's become an inconvenience he doesn't want to live with (or without) anymore. So, what else is there left to do but to venture into Hell and confront Satan about giving him his soul back? The devil refuses to hand it back, but offers Johannes another option. If Johannes wants his soul, he'll have to collect one hundred in exhange, while taking part in a diabolical carnival to help in this task.

And so begins the strange and wicked adventure that is this book...

There's a little of everything in this story - humour, twists, wickedness, a crazy carnival, a bunch of strange names, and even stranger situations. As well as a hero who isn't exactly heroic. It's a wild, fun, dark ride that leads to a very interesting destination. And keeps you wondering after reading the last word.

My one complaint about this book is that - although it was nicely written - I would have liked to have gotten to know Johannes on an even deeper level. Still, this is the first in a series, so that could just be intentional.

I like the freaky, colourful cover too! It matches the oddity of it all.

Johannes Cabal the Necromancer, July 2009, ISBN 0755347846, Headline Fiction Paperback (C)

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