When we left reformed jailbird Alex Locke at the end of The Wolves of London, the time travelling power of the Obsidian Heart had just stranded him in Victorian London. It wasn’t all bad since, and this is where it starts to get complicated Flowers, an older version of Alex had used the heart to travel back to a time before this Alex arrived and set him up with a nice house and a ready supply of cash, only this Alex had lost the heart in the concluding conflict with the supernatural come mad science creatures of the Wolves of London and with that loss waves goodbye to any chance to get back to his own time and rescue his daughter Kate.
Undaunted Alex follows up a gruesome murder at a London theatre that bears all the hallmark savagery of a Wolves of London attack , a trail that leads via the sleazy opium dens of Limehouse to an uneasy truce in the quest to wrest back control of the heart. However as we know from countless episodes of Dr Who, with the ability to travel in time comes great responsibility if we are to maintain the time continuum and it doesn’t really help if other versions of yourself keep dropping out of their timeline and handing out advice about what they did wrong!
Well I thoroughly enjoyed The Society of Blood. It’s a unputdownable collision of Clive Barkerish horror, Gaslight crime and science fiction. Morris does a grand job of transporting us back the fog bound London that is so familiar from the stories of Sherlock Holmes, Penny Dreadful and Ripper Street while maintaining Alex’s very contemporary viewpoint. The problems posed by travelling through time and altering your own personal timestream are thankfully not overworked and Alex remains as befuddled by times intricacies as you or I would be. There are a few gruesome shocks, but Morris understands how to build a decent scare through the power of suggestion and implication before going for all out blood, guts and gore, which of course makes the shocks so much the better. Oh yes and there is a killer cliff hanger ending.
I can’t wait to read part three The Wraiths of War due later this year.
A nail-biting follow-up to The Wolves of London I give The Society of Blood a 666/666
The Society of Blood is out now from Titan Books £7.99 UK, $14.95 US, $19’50 Canada