When Scottish Formula 1 driver Conor Westfield is injured in a racing accident, could it be mere coincidence that as he recovers from his injuries his childhood nightmare recurs — a strange jumble of terrifying images that feel more like memories than dreams? Or that he is soon informed a mysterious woman with whom he had very brief affair has died and left him as her heir? But this was no ordinary woman and no ordinary affair. Dogged by a niggling feeling of déjà vu, Conor reluctantly travels to Amsterdam to identify the body. At her home he finds an illuminated book that transports him back in time to a past life as a Knight Templar where he rediscovers the woman he left behind and a life lived in the shadow of a tragedy that cries out across 800 years for resolution.
When struck me first about this story was the effective way that the language changed between the 'past' and the 'present'. Sometimes, when chapters just around time periods, it can be hard to follow when exactly you are, but this was definitely not the case in 'The Knightmare'. The writing was clear and understandable and gripped me from the start.
The characters were complex and original. I enjoyed discovering who Mercedes was along with Rhyswr and Conor, feeling as if I was joined in Conor's emotional journey. Conor was a character I didn't instantly find likable, but as I read on his personality grew and by the end I was wanting to know what happened to him. Rhyswr appealed more to me from the start, whilst Mercedes was a mystery ready to be solved.
It was interesting to consider the narrative links between the two time periods and theorise about what they might mean. At first the links seemed a little too contrived in places, but as the story developed I began to be taken in by the twists and turns.
I very much enjoyed this book. I think it will appeal to anyone interested in mysteries, fantasy and history. An original tale.
Deborah Valentine is a British author, editor and screenwriter. She had three books published by Victor Gollancz Ltd in the UK, and Bantam and Avon in the US. Unorthodox Methods was the first in the series, followed by A Collector of Photographs and the Ireland-based Fine Distinctions. A Collector of Photographs was short-listed for an Edgar Allan Poe, a Shamus, a Macavity and an Anthony Boucher award. Fine Distinctions was also short-listed for an Edgar. They are soon to be available as eBooks on Orion’s The Murder Room imprint. With the publication of The Knightmare she has embarked on a new series of books with a supernatural edge. For more visit her website http://www.
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