A series of terrorist outrages shakes the US, leaving damaged and grieving families trying to make sense of unbearable personal loss. One such family has already been dealing with the challenge of a daughter afflicted by disturbing and vivid premonitions of the bomb blasts and shootings threatening the stability of American society. When the next attack hits too close to home, father Martin Lovegrove comes to question everything about his life and the future he can offer his daughters. He is given the chance to join a select group of enthusiasts, all determined to seek out a better means of existence, in the island seclusion of Halcyon; a rural idyll run by the charismatic Mother Moon. For those who are reeling from suffering or distress, Halcyon offers the chance of respite and recovery.
Only that’s not all. Mother Moon insists that a gateway exists connecting the current world of anguish and unhappiness to a distant astral plane of fulfilment and perfection known as Glam Moon. Can the residents of Halcyon combine their moral convictions, the enhanced psychic skills of some of their number, and the fervour of their shared beliefs, to allow them to traverse the gap between realms and reach nirvana? Or is the aspiration to reach utopia hiding darker, and far uglier, motives?
Rio Youers’ vividly evoked thriller is full of interesting and original story twists and thoughtful reflections on the nature of spiritual conviction. Youers utilises a semi-sci-fi setting to explore the baleful influence that zealotry, and the ruthless pursuit of a selfish, all-consuming idea, can have on the human psyche.
Halcyon is a tautly-plotted and intelligent page-turner, driven by some sharply crafted dialogue. Youers takes the time to flesh out its multi-strand, time-shift storyline before delivering a thrilling extended finale, the outcome of which is genuinely hard to predict.
The notion that intense suffering might be the only way for the devout to gain access to heaven is something that underpins the behaviour of the book’s most brutal characters. The idea that the religious certainties of a cult might be a justification for inflicting misery and pain on non-believers is also a theme which makes the cruel fantasies of Halcyon feel uncomfortably familiar.
HALCYON / AUTHOR: RIO YOUERS / PUBLISHER: TITAN BOOKS / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW