Book of the Dead

Author: Ashley McConnell
Pocket Books
RRP 6.99
ISBN 0 7434 9234 X
Available 02 August 2004

Wes has been a compulsive reader since childhood. It's an addiction like any other - he craves books, loves them, can't live without them. So when his former colleague Adrian O'Flaherty comes to town and invites him along to a highly secret auction of rate occult books, Wes can't say no. What Wes doesn't know is that Adrian is looking for more than dusty old tomes at the auction. He is out for revenge...

Before the Watchers Council was destroyed, a man named Rutherford Circe stole a number of rate books from the council's libraries - and killed the librarian, Adrian's father, in the process. At the auction, Wes buys a box of old books that holds one of the most famous books of magick ever collected. The Red Compendium is known for totally absorbing its readers - and Wes, always a sucker for compelling literature, couldn't put it down if he wanted to.

Book of the Dead is the best Angel novel to come out so far this year. The story may sound a little weak, however although the start is a bit slow, and doesn't really seem to tie in with the main body of the story until right at the end of the book, it gets pretty gripping as the main story evolves.

This novel is really a focus on Wesley and you get tit bits of information on his past as a student at the Watcher's Academy in each chapter. A very different man from when he was boy, it takes you back to his weedy roots and you find out that him and Adrian were never good friends - so why exactly is he in town?

For a bit of fun Wes decides to introduce the old colleague to Angel - knowing full well that he only knows of his evil Angelus-based past, and he begins to help out a little with an odd book related case, but he continues to keep his cards very close to his chest - does he work for good or evil? Things really get interesting when Wesley gets his hands on the Compendium; the Holy Grail for all occult specialists. Suddenly he disappears, and the team have to uncover the books trail and find out where all its readers go...

A really good tie-in for the series, definitely worth picking up.

Keri Allan

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