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Death's Dominion review

Another slice of darkness from one of Britain's best horror writers

Author: Simon Clark

Publisher: Hale

224 pages • £18.99

ISBN: 978-0-7090-8189-0

Rating:

Simon Clark has travelled down numerous bloodstained byways in his fiction. Vampires have made regular appearances (Vampyrrhic, Vampyrrhic Rites and London Under Midnight), he's had a crack at the haunted house mystery in The Tower, and bravely created a sequel to a bona fide SF classic with Night of the Triffids. This time round he's gone for the good old-fashioned monster book, at least that's how it starts out, but by the time you've finished this you will have traversed some surprising avenues of horror.

Set in a never-stated but presumably near-future Britain, Death's Dominion opens with several mysteries. Who - or what - are the protagonists, what are they running from and just why does everybody else hate them enough to kill them as barbarically as possible?

There's a distinct Frankenstein-like feel to some of the early scenes, complete with gentle, misunderstood but other-worldly creatures, and yokels burning down barns. But the giant Dominion - a new breed of Monster - is having none of this; he's not prepared to follow the Monster Law. And he's not going to stand by meekly while his fellow outcasts are butchered by military men and civilians alike...

The questions that Simon Clark asks early on are beguilingly answered as Death's Dominion progresses. The horror-meister throws in some great plot twists along the way and several deliberate nods in the direction of Frankenstein, though if you're in any way squeamish there are parts of this that will make you wince (and they beg the question: what the hell are you doing reading Simon Clark in the first place?). But if you like your horror violent, dark and believable, then giv Simon Clark a try.

Simon Withers

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