The Covenant

Michael Falconer Anderson, Author St. Martin's Press $39.95 (208p) ISBN 978-0-312-02179-5
Former cop Al McBaith, the protagonist of Anderson's second horror novel (after The Unholy ), travels to Scotland for a vacation in his ancestral village of Aragarr. Beset by deep misgivings, he arrives to find the quaint seaside town reeling from recent mysterious, violent events. He also encounters beautiful young schoolteacher Janet, with whom he falls in love. Odd events continue to unfold: hallucinatory episodes involving Aragarr of centuries past, and a leprous old sorcerer imprisoned in a tower. Al learns that he is a descendant of the sorcerer, and may even be the sorcerer's reincarnation, and the instrument of his revenge on Aragarr. He resists what he fears is his destiny even as he plays into it, for he cannot distinguish the evil forces from the good, and this includes the people around him, among them Janet. Because it is unfocussed, the tension here never accelerates. The penultimate scene is marred, as is the book in general, by a lethargic pace, repetition and cliche. Anderson's second novel is a step up from his first, The Unholy , but not by much. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1988
Release date: 01/01/1988
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