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Old House of Fear Paperback – March 21, 2007
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"The New York Times" "Thrillingly executed. . . A grandly satisfactory tale of vivid adventure."John J. Miller in"National Review" "Kirk deserves a place alongside the classic authors of supernatural fiction, such as Algernon Blackwood, H. P. Lovecraft, Arthur Machen, and Edgar Allan Poe.""Saturday Review" "Offers wild excitement, sadistic violence. An unblushing Gothic tale.""New York Herald Tribune" "Rich in atmosphere, keen in its careful anticipation of large excitements, and boasting a formidable villain. . . A singularly beguiling book.""Chicago Sunday Times" "Outstanding. . ."Old House of Fear"unfolds, majestically and rhythmically, a story of adventure, romance, and suspense.""
About the Author
Russell Kirk (1918 - 1994) was an eminent literary and social critic who rose to national prominence in 1953 with the publication of his book The Conservative Mind. He wrote more than 30 books including Ancestral Shadows and The Sword of the Imagination.
Top customer reviews
But there's more to it.
Battle between young but resourceful Logan and Jackman - this man with a wound akin to a lost third eye, who once knew greatness and Good and yet consciously rebelled against it - takes this timeless character, their roles becoming archetypal. Place itself has mystical aura to it, this fog-shrouded island at the edge of the world, cut off from modernity, where Pagan survivals still linger, this island that once might have been the centre of the World. This is the case of Supernatural being potently evoked, even tho it is is not explicitly employed as a device (with the exception of one eerie prophetic dream).
Kirk's hero is Hugh Logan, lawyer and former combat veteran, dispatched to Scotland to negotiate the purchase of his employer's ancestral home, Carnglass Island. Logan's attempts to make contact with the owner of the island draw the unwelcome attention of thugs who try to prevent Logan from reaching his destination. The persistant Logan finally reaches the desolate island by boat. There he finds the owner and her pretty young niece held captive in the "The Old House of Fear" by shady characters led by the mysterious Dr. Edmund Jackman.
The heart of the story is the duel between Logan and Dr Jackman for the fate of the captives and the island itself. Logan, making the most of a weak hand with the assistance of the lovely and fearless Mary MacAskival, repeatedly outbluffs his violent but haunted opponent, who fears the unseen, ancient horrors of the island and the ghosts of his own past more than he fears Logan. Kirk's tale includes a castle filled with hidden passages and family secrets, crofters and fishermen with authentic gaelic dialects and their own secrets, and an duel to the death around the ruins of an ancient Celtic chapel and a ruined Pictish fort.
Kirk's tale holds up well for suspense; his prose captures the expected atmospherics of a small island community terrorized by a misplaced communist agent and by its memories of far older horrors. This novel is highly recommended to fans of mystery and gothic novels.
Right from the start, you are drawn in to the lure of the island itself; then into the people that Logan encounters along the way. The author makes good use of drawing us in with the information he wants us to know; then little by little reveals the rest of the story in true suspense fashion.
An entertaining read; just like I remember from years ago!