Friday, March 21, 2014

The Devil’s Bed – review

Author: Doug Lamoreux

Release date: 2011

Contains spoilers

The blurb: What awaits Brandy in... The Devil's Bed?

Brandy Petracus, touring a ruined castle in the south of France, is led to the unhallowed graveyard of Templar knights executed for practicing Black Magic. Long forgotten by the world, this ancient cemetery is known to the locals as – the Devil's Bed and its occupants do not rest in peace.

In this fast-paced clash of Good vs Evil, Brandy soon finds herself the leader of an eclectic group besieged by resurrected Templar knights - craving their blood. Vampirism, madness, dark humor, and flashbacks to 14th century Paris tell Brandy's very human story of commitment, trust and sacrifice.

Before the appearance of these resurrected horrors, Brandy is feeling trapped by life. Her best friend, Vicki, is horribly murdered (with three others) near the Templars' graveyard. Angry and overwhelmed by guilt, she finds little comfort in her emotionally detached fiance (Vicki's brother). She fights to come to grips with her loss, her failing relationship, and the local authorities suspicions she is involved in the murders. Then Brandy's nightmare really begins. The Templars, keeping a seven centuries old covenant, rise from their graves to avenge their executions. Brandy and company are forced to hole up in an ancient chapel and fight for survival.

Even then, the Devil's Bed has yet to surrender all of its secrets.

The Review: I had previously read Doug Lamoreux’ novel Dracula’s Demeter and enjoyed it. I noted in my review of the volume that the author was a self-confessed romantic and so was intrigued as I stumbled across another volume by him – the Devil’s Bed.

Intrigued because the blurb makes it sound like it could be akin to the Blind Dead Series. I don’t know if the author has seen any of these films or not but the book did resonate with big chunks of Amando de Ossorio’s series. Unlike those Templar Knights, these ones aren’t blind and the lore isn’t as all over the place as Ossorio’s but they are certainly familiar if you know the series.

Not that there is anything wrong with that – and the story itself is the author’s own certainly. Indeed it was the similarity (deliberate or accidental) that really made the volume enjoyable to me. In this an attempted rape leads to blood reanimating the leader of a group of executed Templars and soon all of them are up and about. Their animation is diabolic in origin and so they are pretty darn impervious to most attacks and apotropaics, except for symbols of divine goodness. Prayer, the crucifix (not the cross) and holy water – though faith by the wielder is needed – are all good weapons, as is sunlight. The Templars are often described as mummies – due to their desiccated state – and they have the power, through ritual, to bring back those they have drained (rather than outright killed with weapons).

Demonic, cadaverous horses, wall crawling, mesmeric eyes, black magic, blood sacrifice and an epic battle between good and evil… Doug Lamoreux gives us it all and it all sits right within the world he created. The characterisation in this volume was weaker than in Dracula’s Demeter but, in truth, it didn’t need characters as rounded as they were in the later story, this was more action based, more cinematic.

Highly recommended if you are a fan of the Blind Dead Series, it may not be part of that series but it shares of its withered, blackened heart. 7.5 out of 10.

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