Will knows a secret. Somewhere in the forest, behind the abbey where he lives, is a grave.And beneath the snow lies something he thought could never die. But Will is not alone in knowing the truth about the Crowfield Curse. Hidden in the dusk, someone else is watching...
Somehow, I am reminded of G P Taylor when I read this. Perhaps it is because this book's background resembled closely to his, less darker of course.
We are introduced to a fourteen year old William who is living in an abbey among christian monks after the death of his family. The story quickly introduce another character primarily known as the hob, later known as Brother Walter, whom William saved from an animal trap. The hob gives us the idea of magical creatures running around in this book, and it is very intriguing seeing how these magical creatures are written together alongside of christian monks and what-nots. Soon afterwards readers are introduced to other characters such as the monks and the villagers, a plot unravels at the arrival of a leper and his mysterious manservant and soon afterwards, William learnt of the Crowfield Curse.
I find the story behind the curse is interesting and beautiful. And I love how Pat Walsh describe the quiet setting of the abbey, of its monks and their prayers as well as their duty-filled days in contrast to the quiet terror lurking in the wood and the mysteries that cling around the plot. Instead of the usual acceptance of other living creatures other than human in most fantasy book, this one makes even the knowledge of knowing such creature is fearful and almost fascinating. Fearful in a sense of what these creatures could do to the short-lived and unknowing human, fascinating in a way that these creatures also were created and live under the same Creator of the human. In fact, this book might as well gives out the idea that not all in the world is black and white. Also, the question of human's superiority towards other creatures came alight into this book and I found it quite refreshing. Just as much as human thought they hold power over other creatures, the creatures clearly hold the same idea towards human.
I think what really draw me to this book is the humble spirit it presents throughout its characters, and that the idea that hatred can sometimes be born out of fear. And also the profound joy when one finds out about the existence of an entirely powerful being who, instead of acting out all mighty in front of the lesser beings, is compassionate and benevolent. Furthermore, I love that instead of writing off the monks as stereotypical christian bastards or highly divine men of God, Pat Walsh presented them in their imperfection as human, which is very realistic. If there is going to be the next book, which the ending clearly hints, I'll be waiting faithfully for it.