The Angel of Highgate, by Vaughn Entwistle is another fine contribution to the world brought to you by Titan Publishing. Their ability to pick excellent novels borders on the supernatural in my eyes and this is a fine addition to the already overflowing bookcase of superb novels they have to offer.
Unlike many of their publications, The Angel of Highgate does not have true elements of science fiction or fantasy within its pages. In some respects, it could almost be considered a horror, for there are a few horrid villains that have certainly accumulated a high body count. Other things such as ghosts are hinted at, but in large this could be classified as a Victorian gaslight adventure.
The book centers around, Lord Geoffrey Thraxton and his friend and ally Algernon. Thraxton had the reputation of being the wickedest man in London. He is a womanizer, drinker, and might dabble in opium dens now and then. He was born into money and besides some bad poetry, he does not have much of a profession.
This changes when, while writing a poem in a graveyard one night, he comes across an apparition of beauty, but she is no ghost but rather a mysterious young woman that quickly captures his attention and later his heart. However this woman ends up getting him involved with, not only one of the worst leaders of the London criminal underground, but also an evil demented doctor. Soon this unlikely hero and his friend are forced to do the impossible again and again, if both they and Thraxton's new love are going to survive.
This is a fun and often intense book. It starts out as a comedy, but quickly becomes an action filled adventure leaving the reader needing to turn the pages. The good characters are likable and the villains leave you with a foul taste in your mouth. Watch yourself too because it had a few tear jerking parts as well. I might be a sap, but sometimes the emotions of characters can get to me.
This is a pretty tight novel. Possible downsides though might be the lack of supernatural. There are hints, but nothing really takes it home. This is okay, but the cover could lead one to believe otherwise. Also how quickly these drunkards shift gears into ass kicking stalwarts also seems to perhaps stretch reality a little thin. But I frankly did not care about that too much. It was a good story and I certainly wanted them to come out on top.
So if you are looking for a funny, light hearted romp, where some lovable characters need to mix it up with a few evil serial killers, this would be a good novel for you. I enjoyed it fully and would look forward to getting anything else by Entwistle.Jack Primus