Nut Ink. Mini reviews of texts old and new. No fuss. No plot spoilers. No adverts. Occasional competency.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

WitchCraft (1996)

Author: James Robinson  |  Illustrators: Peter Snejbjerg / Michael Zulli / Steve Yeowell  |  Page Count: 135

"The fires of madness burn at a gentle heat, stoked by grandiose delusion."

The Hecate, also known as Maid, Mother and Crone, are three aspects of the same ancient Greek deity. Likewise, the three parts of the book represent three different eras, each one more aged than the last, structurally mimicking a part of the content. The individual chapters tell their own story while also being a part of the same, larger story. Each has its own prologue wherein we’re privy to the Hecate’s thoughts and hopes for what eventually follows.

It begins with a brutal act of violence against a young priestess whom the Hecate show favour to. Her aspect and that of her tormentor are reincarnated over and over throughout the ages so that she can meet him again and again, until she’s able to sate the Hecate’s need for bloody revenge. The witches aren't going anywhere. Their longevity means they can play the waiting game for as long as it takes.

The different eras are suitably well-realised, with the language taking cues from the years in which the drama is set. Even though time advances as normal for the main story there are instances where the reader is pulled back to an earlier time within the smaller framework, showing us the reincarnated priestess’ upbringing and education. One such example is Faith Armitage aged seventeen, a product of her teachings, is contrasted with Faith Armitage, orphan aged seven, a malleable child with a mind waiting to be filled. There's not enough time to go deep into the nature vs nurture debate, but it's there to some degree.

Author James Robinson (sometimes credited as James Dale Robinson) shows us the lecherous nature of mankind that, if left unchecked, could become an all too familiar occurrence. In this case it's a fictional deity that steps up to the line, but even then it's only because they felt they were wronged or robbed of something valuable. Not putting a stop to something is not the same as sanctioning it, but sometimes just looking the other way can itself be perceived as an unjust act.

The book collects together the entire first miniseries, WitchCraft issues 1-3.

3½ rotations of the wheel of fate out of 5

No comments: