Mar 5, 2009

Book Review: New-Slain Knight by Deborah Grabien

New Slain Knight
In New Slain Knight an historian's feel for setting, a musician's love of song, and the writer's fluid prose and imagination combine to make this spell-binding storytelling.

A story of love, betrayal and death, and a ballad titled "New-Slain Knight" haunts the pages of this book set in the Duchy of Cornwall in south England.

In this 2007 Haunted Balled mystery by Deborah Grabien, a British musician Ringan is entrusted with the care of his niece, Rebecca, for two weeks while her parents are away. When Ringan's girlfriend Penny suggest they all drive down to Cornwall for a holiday, Ringan arranges for them to stay with an old friend and fellow musician, Gowan Camborne.

What began as a holiday by the sea turns into a ghost haunted event for all three, as Penny senses something odd at the first sight of Gowan and his ancestral house.

Sensitive to events that have happened in the past and to Gowan's ancestors in Cornwall, Penny sees the death of an unknown man killed by his sweetheart many years in the past. Rebecca, a young teenages, is also affected and becomes haunted by a young woman, perhaps the same young woman seen in Peggy's "dream."

Penny and Ringan and Gown try to find the origin and the history of these haunting spirits in order to free themselves from their powerful and dangerous influences. Sleep walking, near drownings, and journeys up and down the Cornish coast eventually lead them to the tragic story of a sister and brother, and a desolate lover.

The hauntings seem to be brought on by a combination of Gowan's ancentral home, the words and music of the ballad, "New-Slain Knight," and Penny herself, whose presence seems to be a catalyst for these spirits to inhabit her mind and the mind of young Rebecca in these particular settings.

The plot has enough twists and turns and sudden strange events to keep you turning the pages. The Cornish idioms and manner of speech make the setting realistic and immediate.

I highly recommend the book, even to those who might be squeamish about the ghostly or supernatural.

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