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Adept: Death of an Adept Hardcover – December 1, 1996
"Neverworld Wake" by Marisha Pessl
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From Publishers Weekly
Pouring old wine into new bottles once again, Kurtz and Harris serve up another vintage dark fantasy in this fifth adventure about reincarnated Adept Adam Sinclair and his efforts to contain ancient occult forces simmering beneath the civilized veneer of contemporary Scotland. Sworn to uphold "a code of spiritual morality which is, itself, a reflection of the Divine Will," Sinclair, Peregrine Lovat and other mystically endowed members of the Hunting Lodge square off against black Adept Francis Raeburn, still licking his wounds after his defeat in Dagger Magic (1995). They also take on the Lodge of the Lynx, a cabal of evildoers determined to channel the demonic energies of Taranis, Lord of Lightning. Kurtz and Harris have become so comfortable with their characters and the details of their lives that they dither leisurely for the first half of the novel, juxtaposing Adam's lengthy preparations for his Stateside wedding to Ximena Lockhart against Raeburn's equally protracted execution of the Druidic rites that will summon terrors from the Outer Darkness. But once Adam returns to Scotland from his American sojourn, the tug-of-war between the armies of light and darkness escalates into a full-blown battle. The secrets of freemasonry, the Knights Templar and Scottish myth are deployed like campaign strategies; psychometry, scrying, astral projection and other armaments in the occult arsenal are unleashed with wild abandon. Although stamped from the same template as the black magic novels Dennis Wheatley wrote a half-century ago, this tale packs thrills that will appeal to discerning modern readers.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
The fifth volume in the popular Adept series maintains the high standards of Kurtz and Harris' classic reworking of the occult detective theme. The evil adepts of the Lodge of the Lynx have returned to the fray, trying by devious and foul means to revive a medieval Scots sorcerer-nobleman who is alleged to have the power to bind elementals themselves. The body count is considerable before the Lodge and its odious leader, Francis Raeburne, meet a well-deserved fate, and that count nearly includes Adam Sinclair and several of his friends. Fortunately, Sir Adam survives to marry his beloved Ximena at last, and readers will enjoy the same elegance, wit, folkloric and occult scholarship, brisk pacing, and flavor of contemporary Scotland that have distinguished this book's predecessors. Sir Adam and friends may yet achieve the popularity of Manly Wade Wellman's John the Balladeer. If and when they do, it will be deserved. Roland Green
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My only request is that the last two books, this one and Dagger Magic, be released as ebooks. My eyes are not as good as they used to be and it would be greatly appreciated.
DEATH OF AN ADEPT finally sees Sir Adam Sinclair marry his lady love, Dr. Ximena Lockhart. The two settle into married domesticity at Strathmourne House where they are soon under attack by The Lodge of The Lynx, their nemesis throughout the series.
Several Adepts do die in the course of the story, and in some particularly unpleasant ways. It appears that Kurtz and Turner Harris have finally realized that mere self-centered selfishness such as we've seen before in the series does not equate with real evil, and have redrawn their bad guys, particularly Francis Raeburn, as corrupt and sociopathic---in a word, vile.
Peregrine Lovat and his wife Julia are almost overcome by an occult device known as a "Hand of Glory" made from the body parts of a gibbeted criminal. Sir Adam himself is captured by Raeburn and used as the sacrificial victim in a particularly detailed and gruesome Black Mass. Raeburn reanimates the spirit of the nefarious William de Soulis, a Scottish sorcerer of the 1700s who wreaks havoc in his new incarnation.
DEATH OF AN ADEPT is a tale noir far more than any of its predecessor novels. There are even a few four-letter words sprinkled into the dialogue, something that hasn't happened before in this series, which always had the quaint and proper air of the drawing room about it.
DEATH OF AN ADEPT is both a modern murder mystery and a gothic horror tale. Kurtz and Turner Harris do a fine job here. It's a shame they haven't continued the series as of yet, because here, embryonically, we have a syncretic "Profiler Meets Dracula" theme which opens up all kinds of fascinating possibilities for this already well-established series and its characters.