In Boston of 1808, young Kit Cabot toils away as a clerk for his family’s shipping company while dreaming of adventure on the high seas. His uncle John, a ship’s captain, has returned from a long voyage with a mysterious golden orb that he jealously guards. John’s appearance and demeanor begin to change from handsome and benevolent to gaunt and harsh, and Kit suspects the orb is to blame. To find the truth, he stows away on John’s ship just before it sets sail. By the time John lands at his destination, he barely resembles a man, and Kit, with the aid of several shipmates and a West Indian mystic, tries to rid his uncle of the orb. However, what the group hadn’t counted on is the evil entity in the orb’s having its own agenda and destination, which it will stop at nothing to achieve. Kit suddenly realizes that it’s not just his uncle he must save—but he himself. Edwards crafts a well-written, imaginative and quick-moving horror tale that’s plenty enjoyable. Demonic possession may be a tried-and-true horror staple, but by placing the maritime tale in the early 1800s, Edwards imbues the old theme with new life. With a character roster that’s small and distinctive, the book’s unique setting and situations help keep interest alive when the horror aspect flags. Although Kit is the main character, uncle John—being slowly destroyed by an evil force he can neither understand nor control—is more memorable. The story moves along rapidly, avoiding any detours or extraneous subplots that could distract from the novel’s energy and stall the forward momentum. What stops the book from being a must-read, however, is its somewhat far-fetched resolution, but readers will likely forgive the hokum.
A debut horror novel about demonic possession that breathes new life into an old theme.