1858: a child is dead, a man is blamed, and dragged through hell – why is he
persecuted and who is his persecutor?
Is it possible to write a book that is part
metaphysical, part travel diary and part vicious satire through the means of a
slightly gothic Victorian mystery? The answer is yes, even if it does come
across as a bit muddled.
Purefinder has multiple themes running
through it. At face value, it could be taken as a story of a man, Bryn
‘Purefoy’ Lewis, who loses everything he cares about and is dragged though
London on a bizarre journey by a stranger who seems to know all about him. On
another level it could be seen as an exploration of London itself and how times
have little changed between its 18th century settings and now. It could also be
seen as an hallucinatory view of a men’s descent into the river styx and his
If that sounds confusing, well I suppose
that’s because it is at times. Know this going in; Purefinder is a smart book.
Very smart. Almost tortuously so at times. It twists and turns through a
complex landscape that is part reality and part psychosomatic, all undercut
with the knowledge of what will be. Its a book that has very little illusions
about the effects power and money have on us and how the pursuit of it destroys
us. It makes a statement that to grasp the entire horror of our existence would
either drive you mad or drive you to suicide, for our fragile egos could not
stand before such bleakness.
Its a book the gripped and frustrated me in
equal measure. But such is the nature of books like this. If a horrific descent
into hell via 24 hours spent in Victorian London sounds appealing, give this a
read. Its certainly worth it for the morbid and sometimes terrifying images
conjured up by whatever daemon Ben Gwalchmai is channelling.
Just be aware you may have not read much
like it before.
Cover image courtesy of Cosmic Egg
Purefinder is available from Amazon.

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