Monday, June 26, 2017
Review: The Seven Whistlers - by Amber Benson & Christopher Golden
In the UK there is a superstitious belief in the "Seven Whistlers" which are seven mysterious birds or spirits who call out to foretell death or a great calamity. In the 19th century, large groups of coal miners were known to have refused to enter the mines for one day after hearing this spectral whistling. The Seven Whistlers have been mentioned in literature such as The Faerie Queene by Edmund Spenser, as bearing an omen of death. William Wordsworth included fear of the Seven Whistlers in his poem, "Though Narrow Be That Old Man's Cares". The superstition has been reported in the Midland Counties of England but also in Lancashire, Essex, Kent, and even in other places such as North Wales and Portugal.
Put that into the hands of Amber Benson and Christopher Golden and it becomes...
The Seven Whistlers are evil spirits most often mentioned in the folklore of various regions of England, primarily Worcestershire. They appear as enormous black dogs, often accompanied by loud shrieking or whistling noise, as of the wind. Legend says they are demons loosed from Hell, searching for souls upon which the devil has laid claim. They harbinger disaster and ill luck for any who encounter them. If all seven should ever gather at once, it is believed that the world will end.
The end result is a tight and entertaining novella.
Rose Kerrigan's Grandfather, Walt Hartung is in the throes of Alzheimer's and when he says...
“There’s evil in the world, love. Things your young mind can’t grasp, but believe me, they exist, lying in wait…”
...one just thinks it's the disease taking its toll. If only that were the case.
At its core The Seven Whistlers is about family, friendship, mistakes made, and prices to be paid.
The authors have created characters you care about and are very good at making the reader see them clearly.
Draped in a dusky purple caftan that hung on her like a shroud, with more than a dozen strands of amethyst beads looped around her neck, Arlene Murphy reminded Rose of the aging Stevie Nicks. But when she took in her curly scarlet hair and pale skin, she decided that the artist reminded her more of some future version of Tori Amos…well, a Tori Amos who had raided Stevie Nicks’ closet. She had a sage, earth-mother thing going on, combined with a no-nonsense attitude that belied her appearance.
The tension grows to a fevered pitch as the story races to a terrifying conclusion.
From the authors bios - Amber Benson is a writer, director, actor, and maker of things. She wrote the five book Calliope Reaper-Jones urban fantasy series and the middle grade book, Among the Ghosts. She co-wrote the Willow & Tara comics for Dark Horse. She co-directed the Slamdance feature, Drones and (co-wrote) and directed the BBC animated series, The Ghosts of Albion. She also spent three years as Tara Maclay on the television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Her latest book is The Last Dream Keeper.
Christopher Golden is the New York Times bestselling author of such novels as Snowblind, Tin Men, and Ararat. He has also written books for teens and young adults. Golden co-wrote the illustrated novel Baltimore, o, the Steadfast Tin Soldier and the Vampire with Mike Mignola, which became the launching pad for the cult favorite comics series Baltimore. As an editor, he has worked on the short story anthologies Seize the Night, The New Dead, and The Monster's Corner. He's also written and co-written comic books, video games, screenplays, a BBC radio play, the online animated series Ghosts of Albion (with Amber Benson), and a network television pilot.