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The Late Review: Age of Satan

27th Jan, 2023

Author: Peter Tennant

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Published in 2013 as a stand-alone novella, Age of Satan (Solaris) is part of author James Lovegrove's Pantheon series (ten books and counting). You can get it as an eBook or if you'd like a bit more for your money purchase Age of Godpunk, which contains Satan and two other novellas.

It's 1968 and Guy Lucas is at a private school after the death of his diplomat father, where he has a bullying problem. When a request for help from Satan doesn't work Guy takes matters into his own hands, despite a warning that Old Nick will be offended. And this theme recurs throughout his life. While at Oxford a séance goes badly wrong with traumatic consequences. Backpacking in Thailand, Guy has an LSD inspired vision that stepfather Alastor, a political mover and shaker, is actually the Devil, but attempts to prove this backfire, with a sub-Dennis Wheatley black mass scaring him shitless. Everything changes when he meets punk girl Petra, who has her own take on satanism, and subsequent events usher in the titular Age of Satan.

Lovegrove has produced an eminently readable novella, one that is incident packed and engaging, with both scenes of sickening brutality and comedy interludes. Guy is a likeable but slightly gullible hero, which gets him into and out of assorted scrapes, with nothing going as he planned. At heart he is a nice person and none of his problems are really down to his own actions, and you can't help but care about him as the shit comes raining down into his life. He shares much with his idealist father, and his decision not to accept the realpolitik philosophy of Alastor is commendable. The book holds the interest all the way with a cast of convincing characters, not least love interests Molly and Petra who are fully rounded women, the latter especially. While she might be supportive of her man and allow him to take the lead, you never doubt that Petra is Guy's partner in all senses of the word, having gone through her own rites of passage and emerged stronger. The ending does all seem a bit too much like wishful thinking, and yet you could argue that this 'what if' scenario has the potential to become a reality if only we wanted it enough, and on that score I think we're all thoroughly sick of supposedly God fearing politicians and the dramas they fuel to retain their hold on power.





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