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Tharne's Quest

Author: Alan M. Brooker
Genre: Horror
Reviewed by Susan DiPlacido

574In Tharne's Quest, Alan Brooker posits a truly terrifying premise. One of Satan's most powerful devotees is gathering his strength to unleash total destruction upon mankind.

Alison has just finished a lackluster date with her NASA scientist boyfriend Chad when she seemingly falls into a trancelike dream-state as a sentient mist gathers behind her and begins telling her to contact her boyfriend or else havoc will ensure. Unfortunately for Alison, Chad, and the rest of mankind, she wasn't in a trance. It's quite real. Alison gathers Chad and the mist contacts him, revealing itself to be ancient Tharne, who is in hot pursuit of "the Adept", a being that had several other incarnations on earth, the most recent being Heinrich Himmler, Hitler's deputy in the Third Reich. Upon death, Himmler, the Adept, was able to give Tharne the slip and instead of passing through the astral planes as he was supposed to, he took his own journey, and is gathering his forces to reunite himself with Satan and unleash revenge and destruction upon humanity.

His first plan of action is a sabotage of Chad's current artificial intelligence project due to be launched. Enlisting Chad's help, and quickly making him believe the gravity of the situation, Chad is recruited to help Tharne defeat the Adept before his power becomes indomitable. What begins with Chad counter-acting the sabotage attempts upon his project quickly leads into much more perilous territory as he's forced to infiltrate a local depraved coven.

Brooker's style is quick and captivating, and the chills are relentless. His smooth style and likable characters keep the story anchored as the stakes raise and Chad has to subjugate himself to more vile duties as he gets closer to the center of evil power.

Reader beware, demons do abound in this story, doing demonic things. There's violence and bloodshed, and more than sex. The coven Chad has to infiltrate is one particularly obsessed not just with sexual cravings, but particularly sexual cravings for the young. And Chad does follow along on this journey, falling deeper into the depravity as the sinister layers of the occult unfold.

It's not for the squeamish. But Brooker crafts a well-written, absorbing, fully realized world here, where the stakes are high and the action never stops.

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July 11, 2004 in Horror | Permalink

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