Home - The Last Page Bookshop - The Horror Reviews Mail Hal C F Astell - Site Map

The Darkest Night

Novel by Peter Saxon (Scotland) 1966.

1857 and the Maharajah of Mahadhrana is sacrificing stolen English colonial women to Kali, the goddess of destruction. Luckily Major Charles Wood and his troops save the day in the nick of time and everything's hunky dory. Unfortunately forty years later, the evil Maharajah is taking over the mind and body of his grandson, the new, good and English-educated Maharajah and the cult of Kali is once more becoming a force to be reckoned with. Caught in the middle of the Kali revival is Major Wood's grandson, a civil engineer supervising the building of the Mahadhrana dam, and his new wife, the governess of the Maharajah's children. History seems destined to repeat itself, but how?

Not a Guardians book, but no worse than the worst of that series. Basing a pulp novel in the days of the Raj makes characterisation difficult, as what was often accurate then sometimes seems painfully stereotyped now (racist in some eyes). Luckily, the plot never dawdles and there are plenty of shocks and thrills to be had. To be brutally honest, with the horror toned down somewhat, this would make for a tailor-made episode of The Man from UNCLE. As Wilfred McNeilly's first foray into the horror genre (he had previously written detective stories, some for the Sexton Blake Library, including work under the Desmond Reid house name) it is certainly interesting, and not a bad choice for a pulp horror addict. But where McNeilly, never a brilliant writer, can be forgiven for a poor debut, Dennis Wheatley certainly cannot for selecting it for his normally quality-based Library of the Occult.


Home - The Last Page Bookshop - The Horror Reviews Mail Hal C F Astell - Site Map