Hello Readers! Today we will once again be exploring the enchanting period of the Victorian era through another great novel from Titan Books. This being my favourite time period in history, I was ecstatic to read a thrilling story of adventure in mystery, fantasy and the supernatural. In this world of mysterious anarchists, secret organizations, parallel universes, unknown pasts and dangerous encounters with the supernatural, I found myself eager to get lost in its pages. With great enthusiasm and a love for 19th century London, let us take a look at Mark A Latham’s The Lazarus Gate.
Our story begins through the narration of our main character Captain John Hardwick in London, 1890. After years of serving in Her Majesty’s army and being held captive in Burma, John returns home looking to escape his horrified memories of torture, addiction to opium and find peace in a quiet life. But his plans change when he is recruited into a secret organization in the centre of a gentlemen’s club, The Apollonian, to defend the British Empire against supernatural enemies. Working alongside other agents of the crown, John must discover who is controlling the anarchists behind the bombings all across London, where their supernatural portals lead and if there is a way to save everyone from their plans of destruction.
I completely lost myself in this novel. From beginning to end it was highly entertaining and an exciting read. As I said in the intro, I love the Victorian era and the setting of the novel captured this time period perfectly. You completely escape into this world and through its great detail, feel that you are truly back in time. The main character, John, is extremely likable and real. You feel for him when he is experiencing his post traumatic stress due to his time in Burma and fear for him as he goes through this journey of exploration into chaos and strange circumstances. John’s work is captivating and intense with every new discovery and challenge thrown in his path. Throughout the story, readers feel nothing but anticipation for what is going to happen to John next with every turn of the page. The different agents within the club that work alongside John are ever eccentric in their individual personalities and specific skills. My favourite character, Ambrose Hanlocke, is particularly amusing as he works alongside John. Their relationship is quite endearing and humorous.
The use of supernatural culture / science fiction is well researched and creates a perfect base for the plot. Throughout the story the theory of parallel universes, the use of portals and portal jumping between universes is presented very well. Even though they are only found probable in fiction, through precise representation and explanation these theories create a world that is very accurate and scientifically sound. I also loved the recognition and acknowledgment of the time period’s well known paranormal culture through the reference of Varney the Vampire.
The theme of secrecy is very strong throughout the novel and adds so many levels of curiosity and suspense during John’s journey. All the work done through the club is completely top secret to the public and it’s very interesting to see John’s struggle with this throughout his work on the case. The people of London have no idea why these bombing are taking place, nor that The Apollonian Club is the only thing keeping society safe from unknown supernatural enemies. This theme of secrecy is also prevalent in John’s relationship with his deceased Father. All throughout the case John discovers more about his Father’s role within the club and through his Father’s secrets he slowly realizes the man he truly was. This element of John’s journey is not only complex, but very intriguing to the inner thoughts, emotions and motivations of our main character.
Lastly, what I truly loved about this novel was the introduction, build up and unveiling of the book’s haunting villain, The Artist. In the prologue readers get a slight glimpse of who this character is and right from the beginning you are drawn to know who he is and what role he has within the mysterious bombings about London. His gift of being able to see the future within his paintings and the hushed talk of his actions by Sir Toby and other members of The Apollonian, fill readers with anticipation for John to interact and discover his true intentions. His threatening nature and extreme personality colour the pages of this novel with great fear and attraction.
If you are looking for a story filled with mystery, chaotic action, suspenseful adventure, strong characters and the supernatural then this novel is for you. Mark A. Latham’s descriptions provide readers with the perfect escape into the past and fill them with great curiosity and excitement all through this paranormal mystery. I highly recommend The Lazarus Gate to all lovers of Victorian London, science fiction, mystery and ghost stories. A great and thrilling read awaits you.
If you’re gonna geek out, GEEK HARD!
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