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Prey

Novel by Graham Masterton (Scotland) 1992.

A rare Graham Masterton book to be set in England, and it's a very different novel to the other Isle of Wight horror novel with a short title, James Herbert's Moon.

David Williams moves into Fortyfoot House on the Isle of Wight to do up the dilapidated mansion for a quick sale by the owners. But Fortyfoot House has a troubled history: it was formerly a Victorian orphanage in which all the young children died in mysterious circumstances in the space of a fortnight in 1886. Most of the locals have stories to tell of the bizarre noises and lights that can be seen in the building. And there's something in the attic: something that could be a large rat or a squirrel, but looks increasingly like being Brown Jenkin, a deformed rat-like creature that was wandering around a century ago, who steals away young children in the middle of the night.

Mixing the strange mathematics of ancient Sumerian ziggurats with plenty of H P Lovecraft, and flavouring with a sprinkle of A A Milne and the brothers Grimm, this once again proves the consistency of Graham Masterton's work (and his next four books also receive ratings of nine out of ten too). This is about perceived reality, about time paradoxes and about what destiny and eternity really are. And as much as anything, the message behind the book is an environmental one: Greenpeace don't know it, but the gradual deterioration of the planet is setting the stage for the return of the Great Old Ones! Apart from the usual Masterton themes, this is another of his novels of ancient evil manifesting itself into modern day inanimate objects (Fortyfoot House in this instance). He also continues his use of recurrent details. Once again we have broken marriages, people wandering around in photos, classical music and girls with large breasts. However, we don't have two of his other touches that he's used more than once: Oriental food and pubic hair shaved into a heart shape! But however many similarities there may be to his other work, this is still an original and thought provoking book.


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