Review by Ian Keogh
The sophisticated horror presented to date continues with no drop in quality. It’s been disclosed over the preceding two books that much of what’s besetting Manson in the present day has its roots in events from three centuries previously, and possibly to a disagreement that occurred long beforehand. It’s in the 17th century that Winter Graves opens with a compelling piece of drama honing in on puritan religious beliefs and the hypocrisy associated with that.
In the present day death again proves a temporary state for Rachel and others, but there’s a complete change of tone as Terry Moore almost delivers a standard farce with spirits switching bodies. He plays it completely straight, and in doing so accentuates the comic elements. Elsewhere there’s an ingenuity at work as impossible tasks have improbable, but plausible, solutions. For instance, how to get at a wooden box planted deep in the ground by what was then a small tree three hundred years previously. Furthermore this has to be achieved in a hurry without attracting attention in the dead of winter with the Earth rock hard. Moore’s solution is brilliant.
Rachel Rising continues to fascinate, awakening the prurient interest we all have in matters beyond the known no matter how sordid and evil they may be. And Moore continues to present the sugar coated pill. The present day external sequences all take place in an increasingly strong snow storm and as we all know, everything looks lovelier in the snow. Even if it’s the corpses of 97 young women hanging in mid-air, although surprisingly well preserved considering they died three hundred years previously.
By the end of the book there appears to have been a resolution of sorts with one person at least back in their own body and not all malefactors making it to the finale intact. That three further volumes continue the series indicates that all is not as neatly tied as it may appear. Night Cometh is the next book, or alternatively all seven volumes of Rachel Rising can be purchased in a single hefty Omnibus edition.