By Thomas Olde Heuvelt
Thomas Olde Heuvelt won last years Hugo award for his novelette The Day the World Turned Upside Down. Reading Hex I can see why.
The idea is incredible — A woman named Katharine is killed as a witch in the 16th Century and then begins haunting the woods around the village of Black Spring where she lived and died. Eventually the army march the woods and find the vengeful spirit, restricting her powers by sewing up her eyes and mouth. All those present die. Centuries pass and the village continues to be the home of the hobbled witch, appearing and dissapearing as she feels fit in the street and peoples houses, standing next to people's beds as they sleep. People get used to seeing Katharine and she becomes part of life in Black Spring.
Most forget the power she could wield should her eyes and mouth ever open. Even so there is still power in the village. Those who live there cannot stray from home for too long or become depressed — suicidal even.
The village closely monitors the wonderings of the witch with an advanced survelience grid. They keep their little secret from the world at large and a permanent quarantine affects the citizens. The question is can they really keep a supernatural spook subdued forever? If people forget the danger, are they likely to unstitch the witch?
The book is already in the process of being turned into a TV series by Warner Bros (presumable under a different name as there is already a TV series called Hex) inpressive considering that at the time of writing the book hasn't even been released yet. I have to say, it is an ideal choice and an damn fine novel.
It's suitably dark and forboding, the author does a gret job of creating the powerful presence of Katharine — a dangerous entity even subdued as she is and the atmosphere is perfect. There is a wonderfully sutble humour running through the book, almost teetering on a dark comedy. The voice, the tone of the book is utterly captivating — almost that feeling of watching something you shouldn't. There are some great twists and turns that keep you glued to your seat while the quality of the writing is superb.
Ultimately Hex is a tale of the darker, more brutal sides of human nature. It examines how people react under pressure, how quickly as a group they can descent to a mob rule mentality and how even seemingly ordinary, nice people can do things that beggar belief.
Hex is a perfect blend of suspensful fiction, clever ideas and a great story, a powerful story with a fitting end.
Written on 1st May 2016 by Ant .