Angry Robot, out now
Sam Thornton is sent on his biggest job yet: harvest the souls of nine of the most powerful beings he has ever faced…
This third book in Chris Holm’s tales about Sam Thornton, agent for the Devil collecting souls, takes the story to new levels, both within the fiction, and in terms of Holm’s writing. Layered throughout with the story of how Sam and Lilith first met, it makes you want to go straight back and re-read the trilogy with the benefit of the new information you have by the end of the book.
Because Sam is after nine different souls, there is a danger that this could become a series of vignettes, but the throughline is so powerful that you don’t realise until after finishing the story quite how many different places and battles there have been. Each location is vividly portrayed – from London to Mexico to the heart of Dracula territory – and Sam acquires allies/patsies as he needs them in each location. Sam (and the reader) gets more than a few surprises from these.
Holm’s writing is more assured than ever in this book: even when seen through Sam’s jaded eyes, there are lyrical passages, which makes the contrast with the horror even more intense – and believe me, there are some graphic moments.
Verdict: Although I hope we see and hear more of Sam, I’ll be as pleased to read Holm’s take on a different story next. A powerful piece of urban fantasy. 8/10