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The Clan of Golgotha Scalp

Novel by Michael Falconer Anderson (UK) 1989.

Will Muir, an actor down on his luck, takes up a friend's offer to stay at his country house in the wilds of Scotland to get over his nervous breakdown. At first it works wonderfully, but then he nearly kills someone with his car. Then his mind starts playing tricks on him: he starts having weird dreams; he sees people who aren't there, some of whom he doesn't know; and he remembers things from his past which never happened. Then he witnesses the murder of a young girl on standing stones by a group of tough-looking hippies, who promptly chase him. But Muir's 'new' memories help him: he remembers the survival training and hand to hand combat that he learned in the SAS. Except he was never in the SAS´┐Ż

After a few decent novels that basically followed a similar formula, Anderson produces something completely different. Muir's mind is depicted in all its confusion and Anderson also fragments a lot of the action, switching from one viewpoint to another. With a relatively small number of characters, most of whom aren't themselves anyway, the only real characterisation is that of Will Muir, and he isn't himself most of the time either! So it's down to the plot, which is basically a supernatural version of First Blood, but with layers of twists reminiscent of much of the work of Philip K. Dick, where reality isn't quite what it seems. Different and worthwhile. The only down point to the book is that after six books in four years, this was unfortunately Anderson's last novel.


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