Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Dark Congress

Author: Christopher Golden
Pocket Books
RRP: 9.99, US $9.99
ISBN-13: 978 1 84739 119 3
ISBN-10: 1 84739 119 2
Available 24 September 2007

From time immemorial the nocturnal forces that haunt the dark corners of the world have come together in convocation to settle conflicts and plan the course of their future. Eventually, the convocation dissolved into violence following the entombment of Kandida. But now Kandida is back and once more the demons gather together to resolve differences. But when resolution does not come they realise that what they need is an independent arbiter. In a stroke of pure genius, or malice, Buffy Summers is summoned to be the arbiter in a new dark congress. Now all she has to do is solve a murder to avert the end of the world...

Dark Congress is the new Buffy novel by Christopher Golden set after the seventh season of the show. Golden is an American novelist who is well schooled in Buffy writing having already published in excess of fifteen previous books on the subject, as well as an impressive plethora of other books either written solely by him or co-authored.

The book has an intriguing premise and although it remains up to Golden's high standards, I was hoping to see things more from the demon's point of view. Instead what we have is a murder mystery and one the fans will love. If the rumours are correct, and Buffy books are coming to an end, then I can't think of a more appropriate swan song for the published series than Dark Congress. As well as a number of new characters for our heroes to interact with, the book contains Willow, Xander, Giles, Oz, Faith and even Tara.

There is little to say regarding narrative, characterisation or quality of writing as these are all to his usual high standards. Golden has maintained the growth that the show's characters had displayed and even takes time to ponder the consequences of what happened to them at the end of the TV series.

If the book has a fault, it's that it takes too much time setting up the plot and finishes it too quickly. Oh, and the lack of the demon's perspective, but that's just me. It wont bother Buffy fans at all, as what they want to read about is their heroine and her gang.

If this does turn out to be one of the last of the Buffy books at least the series can say it went out on a high note.

Charles Packer

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