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Night Plague

Novel by Graham Masterton (Scotland) 1991.

Third and last in the Night Warriors trilogy, this is as bad as its predecessor, Death Dream, and for the same reasons. Masterton himself possibly realised that the Night Warriors were not particularly believable by the time he wrote this, as they don't even appear until the second half of the book! The first half is vintage Masterton and the reader soon gets sucked into his depiction of London. Notably this was only the second of his books to be set outside the United States and the first to be wholly set in England: The Devils of D-Day was mostly set in France. Subsequently his usual American cultural, linguistic and moral fixtures are swapped here for their English counterparts, mostly with success.

But, just over halfway through Night Plague, all the wonderfully dark and mysterious goings on are explained to our heroes and - suspend belief here - Stanley Eisner, 44 year old violinist turns out to be Mol Besa, Equation Warrior; Angie, streetwise young London girl is also Effis, light-skater; and, best of all, Gordon, the gay rape counsellor becomes Keldak the fist-fighter. And don't forget Karyx the charge-keeper and Zasta the knife-juggler! All five have to search within the world of dreams for Isabel Gowdie, 17th century witch who has initiated the Night Plague, the equivalent of AIDS for the soul. Both Stanley and Angie have been infected and their temperaments become very variable. They must destroy Isabel Gowdie or their souls can never reach heaven.

Not content with being unbelievable, Night Plague is also vehemently politically correct, with our five Night Warrior heroes being collectively a child, an old man, a woman and a homosexual as well as the prerequisite straight white middle aged man, who of course is recently divorced. Masterton also demonstrates once again what is possibly his only flaw: his ending is once again too short for the build-up. Major note: ignore the Night Warriors trilogy and read instead any other Masterton book whatsoever: of his thirty-odd other horror novels, almost all receive at least an eight out of ten in my rating system.


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