“Heat of the Hunt’ is populated by characters which go beyond good and evil or heroes and villains, but instead explores the many facets of what it means to find and test humanity. Each character is on their own journey, inspiring the reader to question their own definitions of right and wrong, whilst simultaneously enjoying the spectacle of resurrected planes, undead minions and one alcoholic storyteller.”
Obviously the plot of the book is centred on Dartmoor hence it will be of interest to lovers of the moor as it includes various locations, supernatural legends and beings. It will also appeal as well to avid readers of dark mysteries. What I particularly liked is that for those that are acquainted with Dartmoor the author uses actual places and names in the story which along with the detail provides a mental backdrop to accompany the story-line. It is evident from the narrative that the author has herself visited the actual locations as well as further in-depth research. She describes such places as Princetown’s Plume of Feathers, Fox Tor Cafe and the Dartmoor National Park Visitor Centre with the confidence of someone speaking from personal experience. On pages 51 -52 the following appears; “Best breakfasts around,” Mike said proudly, gesturing towards a grimy white snack van. Adrian read the name painted above the serving window and began to laugh. “Hound of the Basket Meals, that’s brilliant.”” Anybody who has parked in the Houndtor car park will have no doubt had a coffee or an excellent bacon bap after working up an appetite strolling around the Hound Tor area and clearly the author did just that. The story also takes the reader to Hunter’s Tor, the old Cleave Inn at Lustleigh, Grimspound, Wistman’s Wood,
On the very first page you read the following; “All he had been told was that they carried an important historical artefact which must be taken far away…” which immediately wets the appetite for the main course to come. Apart from the two main characters you will meet various characters such as the Elaine the blind psychic artist, the Dartmoor guide, Gabriel the mysterious stranger, Fen the guardian dog, the terrifying feral, Asterra, Morgana, Fian and Owain, the Necromancer, and of course the Hellhounds. What starts with a dream leads the two main characters into a world of mystery and terror where everything is not quite what it seems. Gradually one by in timely fashion the characters appear in the story and together they all weave a web of both mystery and discovery. Every now and again as you turn the pages and the plot thickens the expectation of finding out what the important historical artefact intensifies and you eagerly read on. A local newspaper heralds the news that a mother and father and their son had been reported lost on the moor which then sets off another series of events. Slowly the jigsaw plot assembles itself amidst old rivalries, clans, courts and even the infamous ‘Cry of the Dart’. It also appears that this Legendary Dartmoor website had a hand in the proceedings (p.222). As the final few chapters are reached all those burning questions are answered in an ending that neatly binds the whole story together.. All in all the story-line has more twists and turns than the river Dart itself and whose current carries the reader through a intriguing adventure. The crunch question is that would I recommend this book? Well all I can say is, it’s very rare I read any fictions books in fact I can’t recall the last time I did. But what I think succinctly sums this one up is the fact I read it in an afternoon. With the darker nights fast approaching this would be the ideal companion along with a warm fire and a glass of your favourite tipple. By the way the author’s intention is that this is the first book in what will be a trilogy.
Are their any criticisms, yes, a few, firstly if you drink beer at the Plume of Feathers it just has to be ‘Jail Ale’, secondly Gelert is a dog buried deep in Welsh mythology (I’ve seen his grave) not Dartmoor. On a more serious note it might have been useful to include a sketch map showing the various locations along with maybe some ordnance Survey grid references. It would allow people not acquainted with Dartmoor possibly to visit the locations or if not put the area into perspective.
Bookshops in Dartmoor will have the book soon or orders can be placed directly with the author at the Facebook Heat of the Hunt page or Waterstones can order copies in.