Reviewer Praise for IRON CHAMBER OF MEMORY

Caroline Furlong of the Song of Joy website has a favorable report for IRON CHAMBER OF MEMORY, my sole attempt at writing a metaphysical thriller after the fashion of Charles Williams of Inklings fame.

If you recognize her name, dear reader, this is not coincidence. She was published in the same Planetary Anthology series as published a short story of mine.

She writes, in part:

Iron Chamber of Memory is a great story. The horror increases the further along one goes, as does the growing sense that something is wrong. Although the how and why is not clear until much later, it does not take one long to realize that nothing in and about the Isle of Sark is what it seems. What is visible to the heroes and to the readers hides an invisible truth far more terrifying than that which is seen, and to save all the worlds will mean the heroes must risk everything.

But what are worlds worth when compared to the value of a single soul?

Having read the book, I can see how it was inspired by a dream, as it has a certain visionary quality to it. This does not make it too difficult to follow, though the deeper one goes, the harder it is to keep complete track of what is second sight, what is literal, and what is visible only to the inner eye. While I would not necessarily recommend the book for youngsters, this is a novel certain to appeal to horror enthusiasts and those with old-fashioned tastes. Arthurian aficionados and fans of old fairy tales will find it engaging as well, as it takes the Arthurian Legends far more seriously than a multitude of modern writers in that it does not sacrifice what made the Legends “magical” in the first place.

Read the whole review here:

My comment:

IRON CHAMBER is a strange book, written entirely by inspiration, and it is based on a conceit stolen, without a blush of shame, from A HAUNTED WOMAN by David Lindsay of VOYAGE TO ARCTURUS FAME.

I thought he had not carried the idea proposed out to its logical conclusion. Mr. Lindsay was something of a Gnostic, and so would not naturally be prone to seeing where his Otherworldly premise should have led.

(Myself, I think there is at least one road through the perilous wood of Elfland to a high and beautiful Country of Joy beyond, for I take the Otherworld of the pagans and the theosophists to be the earthlike shallows surrounding our local Earth, but that there are other shores beyond the ocean called Deep Heaven. I do not think a Gnostic can hear the trumpets blowing from those high places.)

This reviewer, I am please to see, grasped the basic conceit of the book, and understood what the muse intended to convey, or so I speculate.


Sark Island is a real place, also called Sercq in French. In the native language, Sercquiais, it is called Sèr or Cerq (but no one knows how it is spelled, because the native language has no written version).

But in our world the feudal government was reworked in 2008 to make it more ‘modern’ at the conniving of two newspaper owning millionaires living on an island nearby, who were annoyed by the ancient medieval law forbidden them from keeping their dog on the island.

The elements in the book that sound the most fantastic, such as the fact that it is a ‘Dark Sky’ island, the attempt by the French nuclear scientist to conquer the island by himself (thwarted by the local volunteer constable), or the ancient ‘Clamor de Haro’ where one must recite the Lord’s prayer and call on the Prince for help, or the fact that the language of the island is not written down, and so on … all those odd things are real.

The house called Le Seigneurie is real, and has some of the architectural features described, but in our reality it is not surrounded by a vast wall and vast lawns, located on the site of a vast and ancient Mythago Wood style forest, and the house itself is not a giant Gormenghast style Lovecraftian witch-house with wings and casements opening up on perilous seas of faerie.

The real island would probably fit inside my make-believe version of that house.

But the thousand foot tall three-foot wide causeway connecting the north and south island which children have to crawl across on hands and knees to avoid being pitched into the sea by the wind, that is real.