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‘The Sleeping Warrior’ by Sara Bain

The Sleeping Warrior - Book Cover

‘The Sleeping Warrior’ is Sara Bain’s debut novel.  Published in paperback last year, I was very kindly sent a copy by Matthew Smith.  I love crime fiction and the paranormal so really wanted to read this book, plus I was also hearing good things about it.

Libby Butler’s life is in a bit of a mess.  Working as a solicitor in a prestigious London law firm her career appears to be at a standstill.  Her rather ill-advised affair with her boss isn’t really doing her any good either.  To top it all off Libby has a terrifying encounter in a park late at night with what is presumed to be the Vampire Killer, an evil knife-wielding maniac.  She is lucky to escape but this incident obviously knocks her for six and does nothing for her confidence.

Desperate to pick up the pieces of her life, duty calls Libby to the cells of a Metropolitan police station in the darkest hours of the night.  There Libby meets mysterious and enigmatic stranger Gabriel Radley, a man who is on intimate terms with danger and who somehow manages to escape police custody.  Gabriel is searching for a Stone which he has lost, its value apparently beyond human imagining.

Libby sensing a chance at redemption agrees to help Gabriel find it, but unwittingly plunges headfirst into a series of events that threaten to tear her world apart.  A cult called the Awakened, a gangland thug, a deadly female assassin, a dedicated detective and even the Vampire Killer, all somehow become embroiled in the chase for the Stone and influenced by the elemental force that is Gabriel.  As the death toll rises will the killer be found?

I thought ‘The Sleeping Warrior’ was an absolutely brilliant read.  In fact it was even better than I expected it to be.  Sara Bain definitely tells a good story, so much so that I found myself instantly drawn to it.  I’m not actually a big fan of fantasy but it really worked in this book.

In the first chapter the reader is introduced to Gabriel Radley.  There was certainly a mystery surrounding him and I very was eager to find out what it was.  I think he was really good for Libby and helped her quite a bit.

Some of where the story was set and other areas mentioned in this book aren’t actually far from where I live at all and being that I was already totally engrossed, I found it all a little bit surreal.  It was as if the murders and other events that took place had actually happened.  That wasn’t the case though luckily.  There were a number of unsavoury characters who I really wouldn’t have wanted to meet.

This was an exciting, fast-paced and thrilling story which kept me on tenterhooks.  I’m so glad that I have Sara Bain’s next novel, ‘The Ghost Tree’ to read.

I give this book 5 out of 5.

 

‘The Sleeping Warrior’ is available to buy from:-

Urbane Publications – http://urbanepublications.com/books/the-sleeping-warrior/

Amazon UK – http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sleeping-Warrior-Sara-Bain/dp/1910692360/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1458252319&sr=1-1

 

Guest Post by Sara Bain

Halloween Tree 2

It’s time for another guest post, this time from Sara Bain.

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I grew up in a house haunted by spirits – or so I was told.

I was seven years old when I moved into one half of a Georgian mansion in south east London and remember one of our Great Danes would sit at the top of the basement steps and growl into the darkness below. The ghost of the basement still haunts my imagination.

My three sisters were once so spooked after hearing ghostly footsteps ascending into the attic that they armed themselves with hockey sticks and tennis rackets and jumped into the wardrobe. They hid there for a while, stuffed into the closed confines of their wooden sanctuary, until they thought it was safe to breathe again.

I, of course, saw and felt nothing during my childhood in that house – nothing, that is, but fear.

Up until very recently, I couldn’t sleep with the cupboard door open and without the soft, comforting glow of the hall light spilling into the bedroom.

Fear is a very powerful emotion. It is a state of mind that both fascinates and appals the logical thinker.

I hold a grim fascination for all things frightening. Whether this can be attributed to an addiction to the adrenaline rush or a perverse form of intellectual resistance is a moot point, but fear of those things that cannot be explained by the canons of natural, religious, logic or scientific laws, holds an ultimate terror for me.

My favourite parties are those when everyone gets together at the end of a meal and, in front of the fire, recount their own ghost stories until everyone is too terrified to leave the room on their own.

I once heard a story of a ghost that opened the door of a hotel bedroom and sat on the end of a couple’s bed before it moved to the next room where their daughter was sleeping and terrified her. There was a small fire in the reception area of the hotel that night but, in the morning, patrons were more horrified to hear that someone had experienced a visitation from the paranormal than ponder on the dangers of being burned to death in their sleep.

During my time as a journalist, I have visited many allegedly haunted houses and have reported on some of the most terrifying haunts in south west Scotland. Each place I visited – sometimes with a spiritualist medium, sometimes just with a camera, once with a minister and often solely accompanied by my own terror – the presence of the supernatural has always managed to evade me. In consequence, I am not convinced that the spirits of the dead can return to haunt the living.

It is for these reasons I wrote The Ghost Tree.

Based on an historically documented account of a poltergeist that pestered a stone mason and his family in south west Scotland at the end of the 17th century, the novel was a personal journey for me into a definitive answer as to whether or not a paranormal dimension exists in the living world as we know it.

The minister, Alexander Telfair, who performed the two-week-long exorcism and 14 other members of the clergy and community of Rerrick, certainly believed the steading was haunted by a mischievous spirit, for they all signed the statement which was published that year in a pamphlet.

That said, this was a time the church was still burning witches and when demons were abundant through the preachings of a misguided clergy that remained under the spell of the vivid imagination of a maniac Scottish king long after his reign had ended.

Whatever happened to Mr Mackie and his family in 1695, however, still baffles the experts and Rev Telfair’s “true account” has gone down in history of one of the only officially documented reports of the existence of the “noisy ghost”.

In order to write my own terrifying account of a 21st century man plagued by the Mackie poltergeist, I had to recreate my childhood fears. I wrote it at night with my back to an open door and a dark, empty hall. I decided that, if the story didn’t scare me, then it certainly wouldn’t make my readers jump. In consequence, parts of the novel are terrifying. Often I would get so frightened that my poor husband would have to accompany me to the toilet in the middle of the night.

I undertook a lot of research for the book – from ghost hunting experiments by paranormal experts, to religion, to quantum physics – in order to put my demons to rest inside some comfortable box that would give me an authoritative explanation for the phenomena of paranormal activity.

After all the reading, the experiments and the visits to allegedly haunted places, however, the jury remains in deadlock.

As well as a crime thriller and a romance, The Ghost Tree is an audacious exploration into the supernatural. All the theories are there to be discovered, yet do they come up with an answer? You’ll have to read it and decide for yourself.

 

Competition

The Ghost Tree - Cover

Enjoyed this guest post?  Well, you’re in luck because Matthew Smith of Urbane Publications is giving away 5 copies of ‘The Ghost Tree’.  To enter just leave a comment telling me whether you believe in ghosts.

 

Terms and Conditions

This competition is open worldwide.

The closing date is 11:59 p.m. on the 14th November 2015.

The winners will be randomly chosen and notified within 7 days of the closing date.  Their details will be given to Matthew Smith who will send out the prizes.

 

‘The Ghost Tree’ is available to buy from Amazon:-

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Ghost-Tree-Sara-Bain-ebook/dp/B015FJYG7I/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1446316645&sr=1-1&keywords=the+ghost+tree

 

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