Christophor Morden lives by night. His day-brother, Alexsander, knows only the sun. They are two souls in a single body, in a world where identities change with the rising and setting of the sun. Night-brother or day-sister, one never sees the light, the other knows nothing of the night.
Early one evening, Christophor is roused by a call to the city prison. A prisoner has torn his eyes out and cannot say why. Yet worse: in the sockets that once held his eyes, teeth are growing. The police suspect the supernatural. So Christophor, a member of the king’s special inspectorate, is charged with finding the witch responsible.
Night-by-night, Christophor’s investigation leads him ever further from home, toward a backwards village on the far edge of the kingdom. But the closer he gets to the truth, the more his day brother’s actions frustrate him. Who is Alexsander protecting? What does he not want Christophor to discover?
And all the while, an ancient and apocalyptic ritual creeps closer to completion…
Equinox is a Supernatural Thriller novel by David Towsey, set in the early 1700s. With a unique embellishment to the setting; the sharing of two souls in one entity. Christophor Morden lives by night, and his day-brother, Alexsander share the same body but leads completely different lives. Christophor is a Special Investigations Officer, tasked with discovering the truth behind a grizzly mystery – a prison inmate The investigation sweeps Alexsander along Both as a willing and unwilling bystander.
Night Brother, Christohper, introduces the story in the first half of the novel.
The brothers, Christophor and Alexsander, share the telling of the story. Rather than split the presentation of their tale into alternating chapters Equinox divides their attention in half. Night Brother, Christohper, introduces the story in the first half of the novel. The second is by Alexsander. Although we’re given snippets of the lives of the non-point-of-view brother, we know little about what they do during their awakening time while the main soul is telling the story.
Although it’s a somewhat confusing concept to understand, it makes for some fascinating and mysterious storytelling. This leads the reader to ask questions of the narrator’s inactive brother and question their motivations, leaving room for suspicions and inter-character conflicts. Halfway through the book is a turning point and the point of view character switches to Alexsander; relationships between himself and secondary characters develop and challenge the reader’s thought process. This is a wonderful point in the book as it adds further complications to the plot and already intense character-driven drama. This structure also makes a refreshing change from the alternative perspective chapters that are usually ‘the norm.’
Every sibling relationship is different. The way the physical relationships are handled within Equinox is a fascinating concept that I’ve not come across. It makes for a captivating read that adds another layer to an already well-considered plot. An additional hook to make the witch-craft storyline more captivating. The lead characters are engaging in their own right, but the fact that they differ so much in terms of personality and profession from one another emphasises the trials they come across. While Christophor is a Special Investigations Officer (Witch Hunter) Alexsander is a musician. Their lines of work do not easily cross over and Alexsander is often taken along for the ride into places he doesn’t wish to be. He has to, somehow, earn a living while there. Their conflicts with one another are as enthralling as the outside world in which they are trying to navigate.
The main characters themselves, while interesting in their relationships we’re a little lacklustre. They carried the plot well and suffered their drama and traumas as any good fictional character should. However, they were lacking in their sense of presence. Christophor; is a great Special Investigations Detective, but there’s a spark missing in his convictions. He was world-weary, certainly, but that tapered into the realm of banality. Alexsander in turn is a stilted musician. His trials differ greatly from his brother and it was only when they aligned in their goals did they seem to overcome that which held them back from being truly memorable.
At its heart, Equinox is a mystery novel. Christophor is trying to solve the case of the tortured prisoner. This takes the brothers to the town of Drekenford. Into a small-knit community where they don’t entirely belong and investigating the locals who might be behind the witch-craft. On top of this are scenes of pure horror. Although the story is primarily a mystery novel, I found the heart of the character’s problems rather easy to guess. As more characters and potential antagonists are introduced the culprit became rather obvious. The story in this sense is somewhat basic. However, the investigative plot isn’t the reason that this book is so successful. It is in its unique concepts and world-building that it truly shines.
The written descriptions are vivid and visceral and become more terrible as the story progresses and the demonic ritual nears completion. It is in these rich descriptions that author David Towsey sets himself apart. After one such description of abject horror I had to put my kindle down and simply, breathe! These scenes are the strength of the novel as much as the concept and world-building.
Equinox is a fast-paced, page-turner and this pace picks up in the second half; when the characters arrive at Drakenford and the investigation begins in earnest. Before this, there are plenty of scenes that build up the tension and keep the reader interested. I initially struggled with the idea of the two souls and kept wondering what the origin of the two-soul concept is? There is precious little background to the concept. It is assumed that the reader will accept this in good faith. I’d like to have known more about the origins of the world, what makes it this way? Has it always been like this?
This is certainly a book I’d recommend for readers that enjoy mystery cases, witch-craft and deeply disturbing fantasy novels. The horror elements of the book aren’t for the faint-hearted. Some of the scenes depicted can be distressing in their content; which at times involves animals and children.
A truly unique book in terms of concepts and world-building. Well-written scenes of abject horror are woven through a story of mystery and witchcraft. Mildly Interesting characters that work best when they eventually come together in terms of overall goals. A fantastic world-setting that is as gritty and disturbing as it is magical.