Review of The Dark Key by Graeme Winton

March 16, 2016

the dark key coverAs soon as I have finished reading this book, I wondered: “ Is this story wholly invented or it instead contains a grain of truth”? I am discussing about The Dark Key, the horror book written by British author Graeme Winton. I don’t know because a similar book has not success yet. Its background is indeed dark, like the title, murky, creepy and the story is well intertwined. In this gloomy scenario, the author delves into the story and the life of a modest young Scottish Librarian called Matthew who, during a walk to a cliff, witnesses a gosthly apparition.

Matthew suffers from obsessive-compulsive disorder, a mental illness who forces him to check if the gas control knob is turned off. But the ghost was not an hallucination but a real phenomenon that hides awful secrets. At this stage, the several chapters of the book split into two different epochs, the one of Matthew, namely the XXI century, and the Middle Age, around 1300 -1400 BC. In the past, indeed, in a French Abbey, it was consumed a sacrilege, a demon, under the form of a seducing girl, Mary, seduced and deceived a monk, Jonas.

The wicked woman gave birth a son, David, who in the story took the role of an antichrist. For this sin, Jonas is chased away from the Abbey and convicted to travel for centuries as an immortal being. It is just Jonas, who met Matthew during the walk, to warn him about the heavily task who’ll have to face in order to save the world from the Order of the Dark Key. But why demons are looking for the Dark Key?

This is a religious artefact kept into a French Abbey and later relocated to the Netherlands, at an abbey in Maastricht. Strangely, this is the city where in 1992 the treaty of the European Union was signed, and strangely, as a currency, the characters use euros both in this Century and in the Middle Age. I found this twist very smart and acute because maybe the story is the subtle metaphor of what is happening since the European Union has been founded.

The Dark Key demons want to take over would be a tool to impose a new global order dominated by evil, exploitation and slavery, all things which happening today in the European Union: massive unemployment, migrants escaping war and slaughters. Maybe, as a European inhabitant, I wanted to see this subtle hidden meaning, but I can’t avoid to remember the plot has some similitude with the current days.

The Dark Key is a tool for power or to get more power. The Dark Key can be a code name to suggest us that The European banks and governments are holding dreadful secrets. However, as characters, the author used monks and abbots, they also represent power, the power of Religion, but always power anyway.

Surrounded by ominous landscapes and magnificent abbeys, the story reaches a high level of suspense, by approaching the style of Dan Brown and Umberto Eco. In my view, this author has been genial to arrange the plot this way. At a first sight, this can seem a horror fiction like many, but, in reality, it is much more, a horror book capable to scare, interrogate your soul and bring to a not return point, namely to a point where it is impossible leave this reading.

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