(2007) David Devereux, Gollancz, £9.99, pbk, 231pp, ISBN 0-575-0-7985-4
The fight between good and evil enters the 21st century with a bang. 'Jack', the man with no name, is a trained mercenary, but with a twist - guns and knives are not his only weapons. He calls upon the forces of good and evil to help with his mission. With a world of magic at his fingertips, he calls upon demons, ghosts and the undead to save London from its worst nightmare and protect the country from evil.
As a member of a secret organisation that is neither government nor police, it is up to 'Jack' to use his contacts, his friends and his powers to find a way of infiltrating a coven of witches intent on assassinating the Prime Minister and to stop them by any means necessary. Even if that means employing the services of a young woman fresh out of training and a dead friend to get close to the members of the organisation, as well as calling upon hidden reserves and other talents, then that is what he must do. Even his own life is secondary to the completion of the mission.
From the first page I was drawn into a world of darkness, where stealing someone's soul is par for the course. A great mix of modern technology and ancient powers gives this book an edge and makes you want it to last longer. There is a vein of humour running throughout that cuases you to laugh in the most unexpected places and stops the book from being too heavy. The characters are believable, the baddies really, really bad and the plot keeps you guessing right to the final page. A smattering of blood and gore gives the book a touch of horror, and some of the tricks employed by 'Jack' make you feel uncomfortable and squirm in your seat. Devereux writes with such enthusiasm and wit, you want the book never to end. I look forward to reading more from him.
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