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The Curse of Rathlaw

Novel by Peter Saxon 1968.

After Fergus Trayle, hermit of Black Loch, is caught attempting to rape one of the Laird's maid servants, the Laird, Sir Alastair Rathlaw, sentences him to a flogging by the hand of the victim's fiance. Trayle curses Sir Alastair and foretells that following two other named incidents, a blinding and a kelpie sighting, his son will die without issue and the long and distinguished family line will be at an end. After the first two prophecies are realised, Sir Alastair brings in the help of the Guardians, who are up against formidable opponents in Trayle and his brother Cosmo, also a powerful psychic force.

Martin Thomas obviously didn't do his homework. But apart from contradicting all the other Guardians books regarding a not-too-important bit of background (namely the Puritan witch-burning affair with Anne Ashby and Colonel Gideon Cross) which is just plain annoying, this is another enjoyable volume featuring the occult team of the Guardians. It's as fast paced as the first book, Dark Ways to Death, and its plot includes a suitably wide range of occult practices and devices to keep the pulp occultist happy. But just because it doesn't have the same touch of class as the best books of the series, such as The Vampires of Finist´┐Żre or Through the Dark Curtain, doesn't necessarily mean it should be avoided. Just don't expect a classic. Thomas wrote another novel intended for the 'Peter Saxon' name, Immortal Vendetta, which was never published.


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