The Truths of Darkness by Brian Stableford,
published by Snuggly Books 2019
Review by Sally Startup
A sequel to Spirits of the Vasty Deep and The Insubstantial Pageant, this novel completes the trilogy in a subtly unconventional way, of course.
Simon Cannick is not yet the legal owner of his unexpected legacy, but he is trying to live up to the associated responsibilities, nonetheless. There are squabblings between members of the family he has only recently discovered he had. And the Catholic Church is showing an interest in the Abbey, now that Simon is set to inherit it. An official provides some disturbing revelations concerning the history of the monks of St Madoc. Felicia is ill, and Simon must cope with everything while continuing to suffer the terrifying after-effects of his previous descent into the cave underneath the Abbey.
Human communication involves the use of imagination and the creation of illusion. We cannot truly read one anothers’ minds, and yet we have to try, in order to communicate. Simon has been a writer for a long time, and is a skilled communicator. He is also very aware of the limitations of that skill. Can he really succeed in facilitating any sort of conversation between mysterious entities that have existed for aeons? And what part can he possibly play in their evolution? Aware of being the ‘chosen one’, Simon refuses to see himself as the traditional sort of hero.
Throughout all the danger and confusion, Simon Cannick keeps on thinking. Although he is very knowledgeable about the past, he chooses to open up new and different ways of resolving conflict. Sometimes this results in humorous and very satisfying conclusions. More often, the results are unpredictable.
What this story says about writers is encouraging. Especially to those writers who find themselves writing for very small audiences and for little remuneration. As a reader, I found it perfectly exhilarating.