Deeper,Older, Darker by P.J. Richards
Deeper, Older, Darker
P. J. Richards
About the Book
Ancient yew trees - living links between the past and present - embody a magical discipline that offers a way to reach beyond the mundane world. An occult group has rediscovered this knowledge, and uses it to experience a reality where legends live, magic is currency and willpower is a weapon. They find themselves drawn into a hunt for the last magical artifacts left in Britain - but the land is an entity with its own deadly agenda, and is harnessing these individuals for its own ends.
Deeper, Older, Darker is an urban fantasy set in the wilds of Somerset and steeped in English Folklore.
So with that, it immediately got a plus point from me as I very rarely see a fantasy using English Folklore much, and there is a rich vein of myths and legends that do not wholly revolve around King Arthur or Robin Hood. Yes, some of them may tie in, such as the Girt dog of Langport, but if you go around the British Isles there are all sorts of stories.
So, when I read the blurb for this and read about this fact, I was quietly excited to be honest.
The story revolves around a shadow organisation called the Bowlore, which kind of works outside the parameters of normal existence and is comprised of a set of different independent groups, named after certain ancient British landmarks, like Silbury hill or Badbury Rings.
Within this organisation there is a lot of jockeying for position and the possession of certain artefacts of power that will increase the standing in the organisational structure of the Bowlore.
And it Is with that we get the crux of the story, as we centre on the possession of a particular artefact called the wolf stone thus increasing the power of the group that owns it.
I liked this book. I liked how it took folklore as the main driver of the story and how it integrates and impacts not only on the Bowlore, but on the groups within it. Like I said, it really is steeped in folklore with such things as the power of healing obtained from Yew trees, the thirteen treasures of the Island of Britain, the legend of Wayland’s Smithy and all the mystical things associated with England.
PJ Richards does a really good job of weaving these fascinating aspects of British folklore into the story, using it as a driver for the plot. However, not only are these legends used but also the very land and sites around England associated with these legends.
In terms of the book itself, like I said, I felt that it fell into urban fantasy and it is a while that I dipped into this aspect of fantasy, and with Deeper, Older, Darker, PJ Richard’s presents a good read for any fans of the genre.
I did have some things that didn’t quite click with me. However, that entirely depends on where this book goes.
Let me explain! I felt that the characters of the book were secondary characters to the main character, which was the Bowlore itself. I would have liked to have some more history and information about the organisation of the Bowlore, like its hierarchical structures, how it was developed, what some of the terminologies meant.
I think for me, this was one of the most difficult parts of the book as I would frequently become lost, trying to work out the structures of the different groups and some of the terms used in the book. In addition to this, there were points in the story where I couldn’t recall which character was which and how they stood within that regime of the different groups.
When it came to the characters of the story, most of them are pretty morally grey, and their motivations tended to revolve around their own personal motivations, machinations and selfish obtaining of power, and they have no inclination to care for those that they hurt in the process.
I have to say that I didn’t find them particularly likeable at all, but I am not averse to morally grey, unlikeable characters as long as they are interesting, and I certainly found them to have that in common.
However, as I said I did feel like the characters of the book played a secondary role to the Bowlore itself.
Did this spoil the enjoyment of the plot? Not particularly, as the pace of the plot kept it flowing along quite nicely.
Now going back to my earlier point, which I said earlier before I described my own personal little foibles with the book. These foibles depend on whether this is intended as a series (which I feel that it does have scope for). If this is to be a series, then some of these things don’t particularly matter as much as I am sure that they will be expanded on later in the series and so will the characters, making this a good introduction to the world of the Bowlore. However, if it is a standalone, then those points would come back into play.
On top of this, there were certain facets of English folklore that I was not aware of, like the Girt Dog of Langport which would send me off into a flurry of gaining more information about this, which I have to say that personally, I enjoyed immensely. I love going off and looking at titbits of information and coming out of a book with more knowledge than I went in. However, I am sure that there will be people that will have a converse opinion to that.
I think P. J. Richard’s trusts that the reader will gain the necessary bits of information themselves rather than spoon feeding it to the reader. Although, equally at some points some background exposition may be useful.
So, if you are interested in a unique slice of urban fantasy steeped in English folklore, then I think that you may enjoy this one.
Title | Deeper, Darker, Older
Author | P.J. Richards
Publisher | SnowBooks
Pub Date | 10th November 2020
Pages | 345