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Banquet for the Damned, Adam Nevill - a review

There are two aspects of Adam Nevill’s stories that I love, and “Banquet for the Damned” has both – his preoccupation with the occult (which reminds me of Ramsey Campbell), and his intense male friendships (which I suspect are unique in the horror genre).

Dante and Tom, both straight men, have an intense love affair in this book that is both supportive and destructive to each character. In the wider story two professors at St Andrews become embroiled in a dark secret because of their deep respect for a third man, and it is the coming together of Dante and Hart that allow them to achieve things neither could separately. The moral of this book is the importance of male camaraderie.

The female characters are loosely drawn, depicted in relation to their physical attractiveness and relative emotional stability, but the book can easily be forgiven this as it is at its centre a story about men by a man, and that’s okay.

The monster and the mystery surrounding its reappearance is enjoyable but at the centre is a race against time to save innocent lives even at the risk of self sacrifice. The dream work is effective and at times genuinely terrifying. The setting is lovingly drawn and while reading it is easy to imagine yourself in the Historic town of St Andrews.

All in all a highly satisfying horror read. Not my favourite of Adam Nevill’s books but still thoroughly enjoyable.

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