My rating: 5 of 5 stars
A grim, grim, grim novel indeed. This is uncompromising stuff, with little room to avert your eyes. Using the backdrop of the industrialized slaughterhouse (and giving it the kind of sickening twist only a good horror novel can do), the story really explores what participation in such a soulless and mechanized form of taking life does to the psyche. This, then, leads the reader to consider the nature of human cruelty in general. None of this is to say the novel lacks its transcendent moments. Anyone who reads the passages concerning the spiritual – and in some ways biological – evolution our species undertakes in this novel under the leadership of John Collins (okay, I could have done without the JC reference) will be in no doubt that D’Lacey can achieve more than mere shocks. Through this story runs an awareness of humanity’s deep connection to the earth. A promising first novel, and I look forward to reading more.