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'Possessed'

by Ken Holdsworth

Fascinating story, believable characters, familiar locations.

Suggested by Dennis Wheatley fan, Cheshire

Tagged with: adventure exciting historical supernatural. touch

 

Comments

POSSESSED Ken Holdsworth, Willow Bank Publishers, 2008, £7.99, pb, 171 pp, 9781906166007 Young Thomas Neville, the brash and sometimes endearing, main character of Ken Holdsworth’s 2008 novel Possessed, is a happy man in 1752. He’s an officer in the 22nd Regiment, and his home life is comfortably situated, with his father in possession of the fine old property of the Neville estate. Thomas sees all this very clearly: It is only when you no longer have something that you realise its value. There was a time when I would wake up in the morning and look forward to each new day. I suppose that was happiness, but I never consciously thought about it. I was young and fit, the heir to a large country estate, a captain in the British Army—and head over heels in love. I had everything and I wanted for nothing. That is, until the day Edwin Cruikshank came into my life. Cruikshank is an altogether assured fictional creation; he insinuates himself into first the care and then the control of the Neville estate, and every time Thomas’ military adventures on land and sea allow him the leisure to return home to visit his family, he finds the situation worse. Cruikshank initially impresses him. “He really was the most engaging of men,” he thinks at first, “and I felt strangely at ease in his company.” But gradually he comes to see that the man might be pure evil, and the elements are in place for a rousing climax in which Thomas and his band of comrades face off against the dark forces Cruikshank has at his disposal. The narrative here is unfailingly brisk, and the numerous homages to the great Gothic mysteries are so effectively and affectionately deployed (“It was dusk when I crossed the heath,” etc.) that readers will be highly entertained. -- Steve Donoghue The Historical Novel Society, May 2010
Dennis Wheatley fan.
 

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