Sent to me by Gollancz in exchange for an honest review.
Release Date: 13/04/17
Format: Paperback, 256pp
Summed up in a word: Tactical
After a mind blowing prologue, I was ready for anything with Hunter’s Moon. Tactical action and black magic that meshed really well together got me hoping for a cracking read. Upon finishing the book, I had mixed feelings towards it… Hunter’s Moon has its moments and there are some great themes and ideas explored within. I just felt it was a touch to repetitive and that the black magic element was not used enough. I will explain more below, but though I had reservations, if you like action, sex and magic in your fiction, then this is definitely for you.
“My name is unimportant, but you can call me Jack. I’m a musician by choice, a magician by profession, and a bastard by disposition.
I’d been doing the magic thing for about five years when they found me. They said I had a talent, that I was smart enough and fit enough and enough of a shit that I could serve my country in a way most people never even get to hear about. And I did want to serve my country, didn’t I?
I didn’t really want to contemplate what might happen if I said no.”
And so Jack found himself on the front line of a secret war that most people simply wouldn’t believe was possible. Working for a secret organisation tasked with defending our country from whatever supernatural threat faces it. MI5 know nothing about and would laugh if they found out. Well at first they would …
Whether wiping out a group of demon summoners, infiltrating a coven determined to assassinate the PM or rooting out a neo-nazi sect who are trying to bring back Hitler from the dead Jack is a very modern sort of magician – trained in a variety of the dark arts but also a dab hand with a Heckler and Koch, skilled in unarmed combat and electronic surveillance.
David Devereux has combined the action writing of McNab and Ryan with dark supernatural thrills and produced a blistering new breed of supernatural thriller. This is Dennis Wheatley for the 21st century.
Hunter’s Moon and its sequel Eagle Rising were originally published in 2006 but Gollancz have re-released them this year with new cover art. Hunter’s Moon is a systematic and tactical military novel with black magic influences and strong sexual themes. The novel follows ‘Jack’ an unknown soldier recruited into a secret arm of the British government that focuses on anything arcane or magical. Jack’s current mission is to take down a cell of witches called The Enlightened Sisterhood who aim to assassinate the current Prime Minister. The narrative begins with Jack infiltrating an enemy base and unleashing a horrendous demonic entity on a room of unsuspecting soldiers. It was a awesome start to the novel but I don’t think it set the tone for the book that well. After Jack’s female partner gets pulled into the cult and goes rogue, Jack has to find them and get her back; dead or alive.
David Devereux seems to me to be an author of extremes. Hunter’s Moon is extremely tactical, magical and sexual. Jack is a ruthless soldier that just gets the job done. He is rough around the edges but that is all part of the job. The humour and banter in this novel is superb and I laughed quite a bit; there is also plenty of sexual innuendo as well. Talking of sex, if you don’t like scenes with detailed sexual encounters then this novel isn’t for you. Jack gets himself in quite a few positions (innuendo alert) where is is being sexually manipulated and it gets quite graphic at times. Other then sex and military themes, the only other element DD focuses on is magic.
Other than the opening scene with the demon, the magic element of the book is more subtle than I expected. There is plenty of rituals and spells but they just don’t reach the level that DD set up in the beginning pages. That said, the magical element is inspired and I thought it brought an interesting dimension to the book. Spells, curses, rituals, hexes, magical equipment and more black magic is an underlying theme but definitely a worthwhile one.
The magic is potent but Jack is much more proficient at stealth and weaponry which he relies on for most of the novel. Knives, machine guns and sniper rifles come into play a lot because Jack can’t risk letting the witches get the upper hand. The Enlightened Sisterhood are a great villainous group as they are strong opponents and their reach is far. I enjoyed the back and forth between Jack and the witches. I have to reiterate that there are strong themes in Hunter’s Moon. The violence is graphic and the sexual themes are mainly to do with torture, but only in a manipulation sense, the sex and violence doesn’t mix.
Overall I recommend this novel to readers who enjoy tactical/military fiction that is infused with magic and sexual themes. I have given Hunter’s Moon 3.5/5 stars as it didn’t quite live up to the intensity that was promised at the start but it did end up being a great read. I look forward to picking up the sequel Eagle Rising very soon.
About David Devereux: David Devereux is 35 and a professional exorcist. His non-fiction debut, MEMOIRS OF AN EXORCIST was published by Andre Deutsch in 2006. He has also written radio comedy scripts. When not writing he enjoys the Songs of Noel Coward, cinema, art and walking. And the occasional drink.