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Book description
Imagine a Nancy Drew/Hardy Boys mystery with all the delightfully cheesy trappings, set in Scotland with lots of occult bits. That is the basic description of Katherine Kurtzs The Adept, a stately supernatural thriller that seems to be gleefully rolling in cars, kilts, gentrified upper-crust cliches and magical reincarnation stuff. Its strictly a guilty pleasure -- fun but slightly goofy.Sir Adam Sandler is a shrink, baronet... and Adept mage for the forces of Light (ah, the shorthand for generic Good). While visiting an old friend, he encounters a young artist named Peregrine Lovat, who is on the verge of a nervous breakdown.It turns out that Peregrine has a psychic gift that allows him to foresee things and hear voices, and hes desperate for Adams help. So Adam reveals that both of them are part of an elite force of reincarnated Templar knights, who have battled evil throughout the centuries. And now hes taking Peregrine under his wing to teach him.Unfortunately, dark things are afoot in Scotland, including the theft of a sword that may have supernatural power, grave-robbing, necromancy and a string of murders. Using ancient Scottish artifacts and blood magic, a wave of evil sorcerers are coming to steal an ancient treasure -- unless Adam and Peregrine can stop them.The Adept is porn for people who love reading about Anglicized aristocracy, big crumbling castles and ivy-draped manorhouses, blue-bloods and lots of clothes and cars. The story practically swims in this, until it sometimes feels like youre swimming in jolly-good, veddy-veddy-elegant surroundings -- especially since most of the main characters seem to be the right sort of people (minus the pleasantly middle-class McLeod).So if you dont like hearing about every aspect of clothing, jewelry and hairstyle at whatever genteely wealthy party the characters are attending, this may not be your cup of tea.However, the mystery is the strongest point of the story, if a bit Hardy Boys at times. The base of the book and its characters will be familiar to mystery fans: the detective and his sidekick, the friendly policeman (McLeod) who tags along on their adventures, and a dastardly plot to do... something. Despite a suspenseful prologue, it doesnt get moving until a good one-third of the way through the story, and things slowly rev up to the breathtaking climax.And Kurtz soaks it in a generous amount of occult goings-on, which may baffle people who dont know much about reincarnation, occult theory and the sort. There are even fairies (not cute little gauze-winged creatures, as Adam tells us), a Ban-sidhe, and a chuckleworthy cameo at the end.As for the characters, they feel slightly unreal -- Adam and Peregrine dont get angry or frustrated, they have no skeletons in their closets, they have no sex lives, and theyre resolute pillars of virtue with few flaws. Peregrine is made somewhat more interesting, though, due to his emotional problems and initial hysteria. And McLeod is just an all-around fun guy, a rollicking Highland chieftain in a cops uniform.The Adept has some serious flaws, particularly the focus on upper-crust trappings rather than the mystery -- but when it focuses on the mystery, its a pretty fun supernatural thriller.
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