What RW says
A sequel to Ankerita, another fast-moving modern Gothic chiller, amusing, nightmarish and heart breaking in equal quantities, and still without any vampires at all, calling on many elements of the supernatural as well as contemporary issues facing normal people, as experienced through the eyes of a feisty heroine without a recorded identity.
Ankerita, a Tudor anchoress released from her tomb after nearly 500 years of disturbed sleep, is suffering from amnesia and dying of exposure on a hilltop.
From being at the lowest of ebbs, she is rescued by a scruffy
hill walker, who decides to take her as his girlfriend.
It is only when Ankerita discovers he is custodian of a witch’s tome handed down by generations of her family, that she regains her memory and comes to terms with her situation.
She has dreams of re-joining a foreign rock band she used to belong to, and use her enchanting voice, but her fake passport is held by a photographer linked to a gang of people-traffickers. Ankerita confronts him, but this alerts the organisation to her presence, and now the head, Fantasia Stanhope, is using all her resources to track her down.
Ankerita becomes aware that her best friend, Jo, is dying of cancer. There is a chance Jo can be cured if Ankerita can petition the witch to help her with the ‘Summoning’. To do this she needs to collect a number of ancient artifacts, hidden long ago by a sorcerer from the Celtic legends. The Summoning has to be evoked on a specific night when five planets align in formation for the first time in 500 years. Before the collection is complete, Fantasia abducts Ankerita from the protection of her faithful guardian, and is now intending to sacrifice her in a full black-magic ritual. If Ankerita cannot escape, the ‘Summoning’ cannot be made and they both will die.
What the Readers Say
"This is a funny, spine chilling, evocative continuation of the adventures of
Ankerita, the eponymous heroine of the first in this series.
I really like this heroine. She is brave, determined, resourceful, loyal, generous, and – decidedly bossy. After all, she's been around for five hundred years, has been a murderer (of her abusive husband) cursed, drugged, buried alive, become the thief of someone else's body, then befriended, enslaved, idolised, exploited, and relentlessly hunted down by the sinister Fantasia and her company of thugs. People who have been about for a few decades must seem novices at life to her.
If this young woman ended up as a beaten wife in the early sixteenth century, as we know she did from volume one, then there would have been no hope for the rest of us…
The tale is fast moving and runs smoothly, through every sort of adventure, mundane and arcane. The writing is full of vivid word pictures but – and this isn’t the contradiction it might appear to be - I was particularly drawn in by the concise, matter-of- fact style. I think, like me, many people will find themselves fully believing in these wild, Gothic adventures through different dimensions and time. Through this combination of humour and readable but sophisticated approach, I really was drawn in and carried along by the tale.
Besides this, I was kept grinning broadly and sometimes laughing out loud by the humour. This is a compliment from me, because often I can read a whole comedy book, and only smile. The plot took a lot of unexpected twists and turns, and this was an unusual treat for me, because I do find a lot of conventional fiction rather predictable, especially in the way it depicts relationships, and those between men and women in particular. Here, you really don't know what is going to happen.
Finally, some quotes:
"Farewell, my beautiful darling," he said sadly, and placed a kiss on her cold lips. "If only.."
The eyes flicked open as he lingered. "If only what, thou odiferous shardborne piglet?" Her cold hand lashed out, and hit him firmly across the cheek.'
"It's a parking ticket. You have to, like, pay a fine."
"Ah," said Ankerita, "A pox upon that..."
A great read and recommended for all who like a strong, independent heroine and an original, spine chilling and witty, fantasy."