Cottam, F G - 'The Magdalena Curse'
This book is excellently crafted and based on an extremely original idea. The vivid imagery generated in the reader's mind by the author's command of language is terrifying. The very first page has your attention straight away and the richness of the vocabulary draws you in. You can tell right from the start that this is going to be a magical book and it does not disappoint. My only criticism is that it ends far too abruptly. It could easily be double the size: enabling several ideas and subplots, that are only briefly introduced, to be expanded upon and still have the reader's attention from cover to cover.
Adam Hunter, a beautiful and gifted child, is possessed by the dead and having terrible nightmares that are threatening to drive him insane and kill him. His dad, Mark, was cursed by a mysterious woman in the Amazon jungle some ten years before, who vowed that his, as yet unborn, child would be haunted by his dreams and die. In desperation Mark turns to Elizabeth Bancroft, the local GP, for help. At first she simply recommends a psychiatric assessment but when the sleeping boy talks to her about things from her past she is convinced something more sinister is taking place. Mark decides to go in search of the woman that cursed him all those years ago and leaves Adam in Elizabeth's care. Meanwhile, Elizabeth is forced to look at her own past and dredges up tales of witch trials and strange goings-on that are still remembered by people in the village; some of whom wish her harm.
This is a fantastically absorbing tale that is full of magic, real witches and ghosts from the past. This is my first taste of the dark and sinister world created by F G Cottam. I am entranced and very keen to find more by the same author.
Amanda C M Gillies, Scotland
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