Review by Arron Clegg. James Herbert has long been regarded by many people as Britain’s finest horror writer of the 20th century and with his 5th novel The Spear it is hard to argue against such claims. It is a horror novel that has it all, ghosts, the occult and Nazis.
The writing in this book is quintessentially British. The style and grammar so English, if it wasn’t for the dark content, it could sit quite easily on the syllabus up and down the country. However whether it was my old and battered copy, or an issue in all publications, I found around half a dozen spelling mistakes and slight errors of this kind. Now I wouldn’t normally bring these up as they don’t detract from my reading or enjoyment of a book but in this case they were so glaringly obvious that I felt compelled to mention it. Sorry.
The book though is well written, very fast paced and each page tantalises you, urging you to flick over to the next one and the next one until before you know it you have reached the end and the feeling of suspense leads to one of craving as you want more. There are action scenes towards the end of the novel that would sit well inside any John Woo movie.
It is a story of a guy called Steadman, ex-army, ex-Mossad and current private investigator who gets drawn into a very cat and mouse type game by some old acquaintances of his, albeit unknowingly on their part. He is reluctant at first, wanting to leave his past behind him. The last straw comes however when his partner is murdered quite chillingly in a crucifixion style and nailed to his front door with her tongue cut out. Not for the faint hearted I can tell you.
His investigations lead him to Gant, an arms dealer who is wrapped up in the occult. He and several of his cohorts are trying to re-enact the story of Parsifal, an old Teutonic legend. They hold the spear of Longinus, which pierced Christ’s side and with its power in the hands of the Reichsführer himself, they determine to bring about total world domination and the creation of pure race across the globe.
Written on 10th May 2012 by Arron.
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