There is a killer loose on the streets of London, one that evades security cameras, is not held by locks, and savagely mutilates his victims. When the murderer switches from unknown prostitutes to Julie Longmuir, a beautiful actress at the height of her success, no woman feels safe. As the press begin to draw uncomfortable comparisons with Jack the Ripper, Jane Sullivan, heading up the police investigation, grudgingly has to agree. But the religious writing, scrawled on the wall in Julie Longmuir's blood, is outside Jane's area of expertise. Roping in Jacob Prior, a disillusioned theologian, they attempt to pick apart the demonic delusions of this Ripper copycat. They must act quickly, as events are spiralling out of control, and Jane is next on the killer's list.
Jane will be tested beyond the limits of standard police work, as the esoteric insinuates itself into the investigation. For events are linked to the clandestine Priory in the Pyrenees, the home of a secret Christian sect that pre-dates the Knights Templar. Jane and Jacob are faced with a deeper mystery than they had ever dreamed of; are they simply dealing with a psychopath, or is this something bigger, is this The End of Days?
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Excellent novel, excellently narrated.
Such a detailed and intriguing plot and excellently wrought descriptions and characterisation, superbly narrated will mean that I will certainly listen to this book again.
This is the second novel of Cottam's I have listened to and it is so vastly superior in terms of thematic complexity and written skill that it could almost be by a different author. It reminded me a little of The Name of The Rose and did not shy away from religious or moral debate; avoiding the stereotype of the peodophilic Catholic priest was also refreshing.
The narration by Sean Barrett is a particular highlight. His rendering, partially of foreign accents, are flawless and make this a real 'performance' rather than just a reading.
Absolutely! In fact, I even downloaded it onto my phone so I could continue listening while doing errands away from my iPad.
A few previous reviews have criticised Cottam for straying away from familiar territory. I'm glad that he had the courage to do so. I think the skill with which he achieves this complex and rather chilling commentary regarding themes not only common to people across cultures but also recognising concerns that are apparent through millennia, impressively deep compared to the enjoyable but, by comparison, rather vapid work that he has previously produced. One reviewer even criticised, and expected a refund for, content (which he found unpalatable) that was clearly detailed in the blurb - what fools these mortals be!
5 stars all round
The superb reading by Sean Barrett. His understated style matched perfectly the dark subject matter. I found myself listening not to Sean, but to the characters themselves and to my own thoughts expressing the descriptive parts. I suppose that was what you might call an immersive experience, and it was made possible by the skill of the reader whose own character did not intrude.
The plot brings a fresh approach to the serial killer story, linking it to a subtle supernatural element. I know that is not to everyone's taste, but I enjoyed it. At its root it was an intriguing tail of basic good versus evil. I have a theology degree and know that there is no 'Lazarus Prophecy' and no secret order of the Gospel of St John set up by Peter, the first leader of the Christian Church. However I still had to remind myself from time to time that this was a work of fiction. It was good, too, to see the Catholic Church treated a bit more seriously. I suspect that this is a book that Dan Brown would wish he had written, and never could in a hundred years.
He doesn't allow his personality to intrude. He lets the story do the talking. Of course, his voice is very easy to listen to, and he always seems to find the truth of the characters - you can't imagine them in any other voice. I particularly liked his reading of the irishman's journal.
Yes. I was utterly absorbed by it, and found the two confrontations with the killer almost unbearably tense.
I hesitated over buying this recording. Some other reviews gave me cause to doubt. I am very glad I took a chance on it. It's one of the very best available from Audible.
- D. Donnelly-Wood