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What Rough Beast
by H.R. Knight

Category: Fiction / Horror
374 pages; ISBN: 0843954566

Rating: 9/10  (Ratings explained)
Reviewer: Harriet Klausner


What Rough Beast
H.R. Knight
Leisure, Feb 2005, $6.99, 374 pp.
ISBN 0843954566

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s wife is dying of consumption and needing a respite from nursing her he and his son Kingston travel to London to watch Harry Houdini perform. Doyle and his son meet the magician who invites the writer to come with him the next night to debunk the medium Max Cairo. Conan Doyle accepts and goes to the séance where Cairo is exposed as a fraud. He invites the eight members of the séance to come back the next day to see real magic being performed

The octet returns and Cairo draws a septagon and warns everyone not to step over it while he brings Dionysus to Earth. He succeeds but Harry walks into the septagon and Dionysus escapes. Members of the séance are struck by a boost of creative genius and give into their basest desires because Dionysius’ magic touches each of them. Harry and Conan team up to find a way to send Dionysus, who wears the form of a monster back where he came from before all of England is infected by the madness he spreads.

H.R. Knight is a bright and welcome new voice that horror fans will greatly appreciate. Edwardian England comes to life in WHAT ROUGH BEAST and the atmosphere definitely has a gothic feel to it. The team up of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Harry Houdini is a brilliant plot device and it would be fantastic if these two men are featured in future novels. Dionysus appears as a hideous monster to the humans who are unfortunate enough to encounter to him and he brings out the beast that resides in all of us. Mr. Knight has a unique voice that provides a refreshingly original storyline.

Harriet Klausner


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