Book: The Witch Watch by Shamus Young

Thoroughly entertaining and original novel about a perfectly nice zombie

April 23, 2012

Shamus Young

The Witch Watch

Amazon, 2012

ISBN: 0984892222

389 pages

$5.00 (Kindle edition)

Shamus Young's splendidly entertaining novel The Witch Watch is set (mostly) in a late-Victorian England where magic works. As the book begins, Gilbert Hiltman is being re-animated from the dead by a young wizard named Simon. The only problem is that Simon was meant to re-animate his late master, Barrington Oswald Mordaunt, Viscount of Ravenstead.

Unlike most zombies in fiction, Gilbert is intelligent and well-spoken. He also feels bad about being what people of the era call an abomination. He feels even worse when he finds that someone has involuntarily supplied the "vigor" that animates him.

Gilbert and Simon are on the run and pretty quickly they encounter Alice White of the Ministry of Etherial Affairs (which the tabloids call the Witch Watch). Alice finds to her surprise that this particular abomination wants to cooperate in restoring the misappropriated vigor that he's using. It's good that Gilbert wants to help and that Simon (apart from that initial mix-up) is a very good wizard and that Alice is a strong and sensible leader because Viscount Mordaunt is not at all happy about remaining dead. And there are various other people who take quite a dim view of people hobnobbing with abominations even if it's for a good reason.

The story that follows is original and thoroughly entertaining and the other characters are memorable as well. The book is an excellent diversion for a couple of evenings. Mr Young seems to have left the door open for a sequel and I would be very glad to meet these characters again.