David Craig's Lord of the Hunt was published by Elsewhen Press in a digital edition on 20th March 2020 and in paperback in May 2020.
About David Craig:
Aside from three months living on an oil tanker sailing back and forth between America and Africa, and two years living in a pub, David Craig grew up on the west coast of Scotland. He studied Software Engineering at university, but lost interest in the subject after (and admittedly prior to) graduation. He currently works as a resourcing administrator for a public service contact centre, and lives near Glasgow with his wife, daughter and two rabbits.
Being a published writer had been a life-long dream, and one that he was delighted to finally realise with his debut novel, Resurrection Men, the first in the Sooty Feathers series, published by Elsewhen Press in 2018. Thorns of a Black Rose was David’s second novel, also published by Elsewhen Press. He returns to the Sooty Feathers series with Lord of the Hunt.
About Lord of the Hunt:
Death rides the blood of a pale horse
Undead prowl the streets of Glasgow at night hunting for blood. They, in turn, are hunted by the formidable Lady Delaney and her apprentice Kerry Knox, whose fight against the secret society ruling Glasgow will lead them into the city’s industrial heart where the poor toil in miserable conditions. Children have been exploited in mills and factories for decades, but the Sooty Feather Society has refined its cruel disregard in service to the undead.
Delaney and Knox are not the society’s only problem. The elusive demon Arakiel employs murder and necromancy in his campaign to seize control of Glasgow, avenging betrayal and reclaiming what was once his.
Wilton Hunt and Tam Foley are lying low in the Highlands where Hunt’s father has recently inherited title and estate. The blue skies and clear waters of Loch Aline may seem a tranquil sanctuary to the city men, but its forbidding forests and shadowed glens conceal dark secrets pertaining to Hunt’s family, and a diabolical revelation will change Wilton’s life forever.
Demons walk the crowded, cobbled streets of Glasgow, and a necromancer’s debt is called in. Knox will learn what joining this war might cost her; Hunt and Foley will learn they can’t escape it. Their diverged paths will meet again when dark magic unleashes a horror not everyone will survive…
REVIEW: LORD OF THE HUNT BY DAVID CRAIG
David Craig's Lord of the Hunt is the second novel in the Sooty Feathers series. It's a brilliant and satisfying sequel to Resurrection Men. It's one of the best and most enjoyable fantasy novels I've read this year, because it's filled with intrigue, adventure, action, darkness and surprises.
Because I loved Resurrection Men, I was eager to read this novel. I'm happy to say that Lord of the Hunt is every bit as good as the first novel, if not even better, because it deepens many aspects of the background story. This novel appeals to my taste in dark fantasy and historical fantasy, because it combines both genres in a stunningly entertaining way. I consider Lord of the Hunt to be highly enjoyable historical dark fantasy that should not be missed by fantasy fans.
The story begins with Kerry Knox being trained by Lady Delaney. During the training, Kerry kills a vampire (a Nephilim) and is observed by Lady Delaney. A bit later, Lady Delaney and Kerry begin to investigate an increase in child deaths and discover something vile and disturbing... Wilton Hunt and Tam Foley are on their way to the Highlands to visit Wilton's parents who are tidying up his great-uncle's estate and affairs. On their way to the estate, they are - to their amazement and horror - being attacked by big wolves... Meanwhile, the demon Arakiel has sent one of his servants to London to acquire help from a very dangerous and powerful necromancer who can control the dead...
Just like in the first novel, the story flows effortlessly and becomes increasingly fascinating towards the ending. At the beginning of the story, the author quickly recaps what happened in the previous novel and tells of what has happened to the characters since then. This is good, because it allows the reader to get acquainted with the characters and the setting again. As the story progresses, the reader is led deeper into the dark world of the undead and those who hunt them.
By the way, it's good to read the first novel before this one. Although it's perhaps possible to understand what's going on in this novel without reading the first novel, I strongly urge readers to read it, because it explains a few important things that readers have to know in order to fully enjoy the story and all of its details.
The characterisation is surprisingly fluent and the author writes engagingly about the protagonists and their deeds. I enjoyed reading about the characters and was pleased to read again about Wilton Hunt and Tam Foley.
Here are a few words about some of the characters:
- Lady Delaney is a formidable woman who hunts creatures of the night. She has a tragic past, because she has lost her husband and children in a dark way because of the Sooty Feathers club which rules the city.
- Kerry Fox is Lady Delaney's apprentice. She used to be an actress, but has now become Lady Delaney's companion. Lady Delaney teaches her vital skills that are needed to know when hunting and dealing with the undead.
- Wilton Hunt has studied the natural sciences, much to his parents' annoyance. He has managed to mend fences with his parents, but their relationship is still raw. He has not fully recovered from what happened to him during his captivity.
- Tam Foley is the owner of a pharmacy, which he has inherited. He and Wilton Hunt are good friends. Together, they used to snatch bodies, but have now forsaken it.
- Bishop Redford sits on the Council and has ascended from Septimus to Sextus. He is an ambitious and ruthless man who has his own secrets.
The worldbuilding in this novel is effective. The 19th century Glasgow effortlessly comes alive before the reader's eyes as the author writes about its streets and locales with a loving touch and evokes a sense of an age gone by with his sentences. It's compelling to read about the society and various places, because the author's desciptions are vivid and atmospheric.
I find the author's prose and writing style satisfyingly fluent. He has a gift for storytelling and he knows how to use his gift to to entertain the reader. It's a pleasure to read his story, because he handles all the elements well and writes from various points of views in a gripping way.
One of the highlights of this novel is Tam Foley and Wilton Hunt's trip to the Ashford Lodge in the Highlands and their exploration of the wilderness. Wilton is unaware of his family's past and when he finds out what has been going on, the revelations are very intriguing, not to mention surprising, because the revelations affect him in a profound way.
What I love perhaps most about this novel is that it has an excellent and well-created story with a captivating and chilling atmosphere. I also love all the details the author has added to his story, because they truly spice up the story (his attention to details is remarkable). I particularly enjoyed reading about what he revealed about the well-kept secrets related to Hunt's family.
I was also thrilled to read about the necromancer and his abilities, because the author's way of writing about him is delightfully gruesome. The necromancer is described as a dangerous person who has lived for a long time and has become extremely powerful in his craft.
The action-packed ending is worth waiting for, because the events gradually build up to it and the outcome is rewarding. The last pages of the story are very intriguing and pave the way for the next novel. I have to mention that I look forward to reading the next novel, because this novel was a fully satisfying reading experience that left me wanting more.
Based on this novel and its predecessor, I can say that David Craig is a talented author who uses his gift to create a compelling and gripping reading experience for readers who appreciate the darker side of historical fantasy fiction and have a yearning for good stories that are filled with dark and macabre happenings. He's one of the best new fantasy authors I've come across.
Whether you're a fan of historical fantasy or a devoted reader of dark fantasy, David Craig's Lord of the Hunt will please you in many ways, because it's a wonderfully macabre and compelling novel. If you love good stories and enjoy fluently written fantasy fiction, you should take a look at this novel and its predecessor, because they're excellent and highly enjoyable novels. I highly recommend both of them to fantasy readers.