Opening with a bang and a scene of sorcerous slaughter, this tale about the resurrection of a cursed medieval book into the life of a 12-year-old boarding school boy is unrelenting in its pace and liveliness of episode. Edward Gibbons finds that he has become embroiled in a struggle between the benign phantoms that protect the world from the evil of the book, and the living descendants of an apostate guardian who wish to reclaim it for their own ends. As the book emerges from the grounds of the school which was once the family seat of the guardians, Edward is both seduced and repelled by its power.
The novel is clearly intended to be the first in a series. It is certainly eventful, but it shuffles themes, episodes and character-types from the annals of school and sword-and-sorcery fiction that have become rather too familiar. The vivid writing sometimes flushes purple and the Camelotian dialogue cloys. Nevertheless, it should provide a satisfying romp for devotees of the genre.