When Harden Campbell wakes cold and beaten in a dirt-floor cell, he finds only three other things in the room with him: the mutilated body of his good friend, an ancient typewriter, and a stack of blank paper, the top sheet of which has a single typed sentence: "Tell me a story." He knows the message is from Coyote, his brilliant, megalomaniacal roommate whose lust for power and reverence has recently revealed him for the true sociopath he is. Now, as the founder of a new religion with disturbing roots - Revelation - Coyote's most evil side has emerged.
From the moment Harden sees that stack of paper, he knows his one chance of escape is through his own words, and only his ability to successfully recount the dark story of what happened over the past year at Wyland University will determine whether he lives to see the woman he loves once again - or is silenced forever. This will be the most difficult story Harden has ever written, and each word must be chosen with the utmost care. Because Coyote will be reading each and every one of them.
"An enthralling thriller...Wilson infuses his terrifying plot with intricate twists and turns, all totally credible." (Publishers Weekly)
"This is a sledgehammer of a novel, slamming away at the foundations of modern cult religions until nothing is left but rubble to be carted away...a powerful story...an intense experience for those who can take it." (Booklist)
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"A dark stain that goes with them ..."
I almost certainly will relisten to this book again some time in the future: it will be good to revisit it with the better knowledge of what was happening following the unexpected conclusion.
Three student friends Derek, Jacob and Harden, rent a four bedroom apartment to share during their final college year. Although two of the young men are quite financially sound, one is not, so it makes sense to add a fourth room mate to their group. Wiley, always known as Coyote is wealthy and charasmatic and joins them, sharing the expenses though not often actually living at the house. The story begins when Harden wakes up to find himself locked in an unknown room, initially in the dark, with nothing to decorate the concrete walls or dirt floor, no furniture other than a chair, table and typewriter, and a message requesting that he tells a story. He is alone, apart from a spider - and the dead body of Derek, his friend.
Where is he? Why is he there? What happened to Derek? How can he escape?
This is the first book by Carter Wilson that I have read and I was very pleasantly surprised. Well written, the construction was also good with the present happenings being given from the point of view of the main protagonistbut, Harden, but in the third person, and this is alternated by his story, written in first person, of what went before in the year preceding the current events. As each chapter is headed by a date, these two aspects mean that the reader is, at no time, unsure which is now and which then, as can sometimes occur in this type of presentation. As the story progresses, we learn more about the group of four and, in particular, the egotistical Coyote and the games he likes to play and, of course, about the prisoner and story writer, Harden..
Apparently straightforward, there are some unexpected perspective altering twists. More of a thriller than a mystery, there is a growing dark tension throughout. There is some physical action along the way but most of the violence is contained inside the minds of the characters themselves. Timothy McKean interpreted this very well. It would have been easy or him to overdramatize; instead he maintained a calm, clear reading throughout. He was very pleasant to hear. Unfortunately there were a few editting glitches where a sentence, already given, is repeated, such as at the start of chapter 3 and end of chapters 11 and 28, but these were only momentary distractions.
I was freely gifted my copy of Revelation by the rights holder, via Audiobook Boom. Thank you. I was drawn into the story from the very beginning, not wanting to stop listening at any point, so intrigued was I with what had happened and what would come next. A certain amount of suspension of disbelief was required at times, at least, I hope so. I wouldn't want too many Coyotes about in everyday life!
Intriguing and original story, well written and performed: definitely recommended.
- Norma Miles