THE EVERLASTINGBOOK REVIEW
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Going for the Bradbury gold, author Tim Lebbon starts off THE EVERLASTING furiously waxing his poeticals. After a few pages, Tim settles his metaphors and I'm onboard with his rhythm. Scott, at the age of 16, watched his beloved Grandfather die. Far closer to his Grandpa, or Papa, than to his own parents, Scott has had to live with the cloud of his Papa's death. The old man murdered his best friend then tried to kill himself. As he lay dying, he told his grandson, "I'm not afraid of death, because I know the truth. And one day, I'll tell you!"
It was shortly after this that Scott was visited by the man his grandfather murdered. Which, you must admit, is not something you see everyday.
30 years later and Scott is a married man in a childless life. He and Helen, though they want children, cannot have them. So all of Scott's love is lavished on his wife. And this is good right up until the day that Scott receives a very old letter in the mail. It's a letter from his Grandfather and neither Scot or Helen can figure out how such an old letter, lost somewhere in the postal system for thirty years, was able to find them after all this time. There is no address on it. Scott wants to throw it away but can't, and when he finally reads the letter, the contents within turn his life upside down.
Harm comes in the return of his grandfather's murdered friend, Lewis, who has returned seeking what he sought before, "The Chord of Souls". Lewis takes Helen away, as a hostage in return for The Chord of Souls. It's impossible for a mere mortal such as Scott to ever track down Lewis or Helen. He hasn't the slightest idea where they have gone or how to get there. Lewis lives in a world cut off from ours.
Help comes in the form of an immortal, who enters Scott's life under the pretense that she will help Scott find his Helen. This immortal calls herself Nina, and she is one of 12 immortals who know that the ghost of Lewis must never find the Chord of Souls.
Thus begins a journey across England and other words. Scott goes through all manner of vivid hells as Lebbon's tale skirts both Barker and Holdstock in it's myth of familiars. Words like Wraith and Blight take on whole new meanings as Lebbon throws his desperate and reluctant hero, Scott, into realms fascinating and scary. There are times when the novel, in its imagery becomes downright chilling, threatening to scare all who willingly indulge in the places that Lebbon takes us.
All of the characters, save for hostage Helen, are well fleshed out. Nina is both alluring and deadly. Lewis is a dark mystery, and for Scott, nothing is what it seems and no one who comes into his life does anything to earn his trust. Scott can only focus on Helen and her safe return, or his going to join her. He must be reunited with Helen at all costs, including his life. But the events of the past that his Grandfather set into motion have reached gestation, and are bursting forth in alarming, hideous fashion.
There are more than a few times when Lebbon goes too far in his alliteration, but THE EVERLASTING is one great wicked trip!
This review copyright 2001 E.C.McMullen Jr.
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