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  • TITLE: The Rope Eater
  • AUTHOR: Ben Jones

    Review to follow . . .

    Never, I'm afraid.

    After four months, this novel still lingers around the edges, bewitching me like a nightmare from the lead-poisoned mind of the final surviving crewmember after abandoning the HMS Terror, the last of Sir John Franklin's mid-1800s expedition to discover the elusive Northwest Passage. In lots of ways, this book is so disturbing, it has become impossible to re-visit.

    For, it is not a quasi-historical accounting of that ill-fated mission. It burrows deeper into one's imagination and plants something. I don't know what that something is. I obviously want to stay ignorant. Touching the edges, all I can reveal is an arcana terrifyingly similar to Pynchon's spider monkeys in Godolphin's monomanical quest for Vheissu from V. (Lipponcott, c.1963, p.205-6), heinously combined with the too-cold, too-red visuals from the first-time viewing of the chest-burster scene in Alien.

    Sometimes the search reveals an unthinkable horror that, once uncovered, can only be acculturated by trickery.

    It's like Alfred Borden the magician in Priest's The Prestige: doomed by his own vaulting splendor and forced to misdirect away—night after night, show after show—the abominable, paralyzing truth.

    Which do you want to be? The duped or the haunted?

    One possible answer lies in whether this book will interest you or not.



    © copyright 01/30/2007 by Larry Crawford

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