cover image Walk On, Bright Boy

Walk On, Bright Boy

Charles Davis, . . Permanent, $26 (0pp) ISBN 978-1-57962-153-7

Written in the form of a confession by an elderly man looking back on the defining incident of his youth, Davis's brief debut takes place in a remote Spanish village during the Inquisition, after the Christians have conquered Moorish Spain. As a young man, the narrator befriends a Moor, who entertains the village children with stories and songs, and introduces them to the spiritual joy of walking. When some of the children disappear, an Inquisitor arrives to find the perpetrator and very quickly accuses the Moor of being a witch. Despite his best efforts to aid his friend, the narrator finds that the trial has been rigged by the Inquisitor, and the Moor will be found guilty and executed. When the narrator stumbles across the horrifying truth about what happened to the missing boys, he finds himself embarking on the longest walk of his young life. A combination of morality tale and gothic horror, the book raises questions about religious extremism, faith, miracles, justice and torture, but by-the-numbers plotting and thin characters drain the novel of emotional resonance. (Aug.)