- Paperback: 358 pages
- Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (September 2, 2014)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1501049631
- ISBN-13: 978-1501049637
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 6 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #10,592,258 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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What Rough Beast
About the Author
H. R. Knight is the pen name of Harry Squires, a critically acclaimed author who writes mysteries—some paranormal, some not—as well as thrillers, and the occasional magazine article. Harry has worked as an insurance underwriter, a software marketer, and a corporate trainer. He attended Journalism School at the University of Missouri and film school at UCLA. He has studied Okinawan karate and Chinese boxing. Current hobbies include dog training, classical guitar, cooking, and collecting obscure, cheesy horror films from the 1930s & ‘40s. Having traveled all over the world, he’s developed a preference for countries that produce good wines. He shares a home and a life with his wife Susan, who publishes unconventional paranormal romances. They own, train, and show Belgian Sheepdogs. Occasionally the dogs are kind enough to give Harry and Susan hope that they may some day be in charge of the pack.
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The octet returns and Cairo draws a septagon and warns everyone not to step over it while he brings Dionysus to Earth. He succeeds but Harry walks into the septagon and Dionysus escapes. Members of the séance are struck by a boost of creative genius and give into their basest desires because Dionysius' magic touches each of them. Harry and Conan team up to find a way to send Dionysus, who wears the form of a monster back where he came from before all of England is infected by the madness he spreads.
H.R. Knight is a bright and welcome new voice that horror fans will greatly appreciate. Edwardian England comes to life in WHAT ROUGH BEAST and the atmosphere definitely has a gothic feel to it. The team up of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Harry Houdini is a brilliant plot device and it would be fantastic if these two men are featured in future novels. Dionysus appears as a hideous monster to the humans who are unfortunate enough to encounter to him and he brings out the beast that resides in all of us. Mr. Knight has a unique voice that provides a refreshingly original storyline.
I can't speak to the historical accuracy of Knight's characterization of Arthur Conan Doyle, but artistically it is spot-on. The creator of Sherlock Holmes emerges as a rounded and likeable figure: earnest, well-meaning, valiant, full of old-fashioned virtues and prejudices ... a good man grappling uneasily and not always successfully with the conflict between his Victorian upbringing and the emerging realities of the new century. (Not to mention the suppressed realities of his own nature.) Though essentially honest he is fallible in his judgments; using him as narrator enables Knight skillfully to manipulate our perceptions of the other characters, especially the complex and charismatic figure of Maximillian Cairo, the Aleister Crowley-like magician who is the apparent villain of the piece.
The other characters are equally well conceived, particularly the brash (also vain, energetic, resourceful, loyal, and fearless) Harry Houdini, and the beautiful (also sensual, conflicted, emancipated, and intriguing) Justine Luce. Honorable mention must also go to the character of Mackleston, and to a lesser extent that of Gaylord, for the sensitive handling of a topic that even today provokes controversy in some quarters. (Though I have to admit the latter's name made me wince -- a little too obvious for my liking!)
Having said all that, let me emphasize once more this is a FUN book to read. Lots of action, lots of suspense, even a few mildly titillating scenes ... what's not to love?
All in all a splendid book -- one of those rare works that not only stands up to but rewards a second reading. I recommend it highly.
This is a really entertaining novel, with enough characterization and attention to detail.
Something different, nicely gothic.