of Stephen Charles
Another supernatural tale from Tom East (he seems to like the word 'Eldritch') beginning with some nostalgia for post war West London of the late 1950’s. The opening section of the novel paints a realistic picture of a group of war damaged working class ex-service men and their attitude to a young man born too late to have seen service in WW2.
From there the story moves off in a different direction but with the opening characters temporarily departing from a narrative that continues into the 21st century, leaving the mental legacy of WW2 far behind, to be replaced by the pursuit of money and influence. The hidden magic is the journey from 1959 to the 21st century.
Tom East has a talent for easy to read and intriguing tales that are perfect for travel or that last hour before bedtime.
The Romanian playwright Eugène Ionesco once wrote, “Take a perfect circle, caress it and you'll have a vicious circle.” Tom East seems to have taken his adviceto the letter in his latest novel, The KA of Stephen Charles. The circle is KA, which in ancient Egyptian religion is a mental entity, or soul, that lives within the human body and survives it after death, an idea that later entered into Christianity. But unlike Christian thought, where on the Day of Judgment souls are re-embodied and live eternally in the heavenly kingdom, Stephen Charles’ KA gets vicious, and therefore punished, to live eternally on Mother Earth. Why does it get vicious? Why does it do body-hopping, even to women’s bodies? That’s, obviously, for the reader to find out. Suffice it to say that KA doesn’t choose a new body at randomand, once in it, does unpredictable things with Stephen’s personality, sometimes even interfering it with that of the previous owner.
The protagonist’s adventures sound more or less picaresque, a bit of irony or humour making them more bearable for someone who isn’t the initiator but the initiated. There’s also a film noir mood in the book created by the psychologicainsight, visual style and, why not, the murders! Actually, the novel, much of itbased on dialogue, is quite cinematic and a versatile scriptwriter would definitely pick the best parts.
The novel ends with this statement, coming from Stephen’s KA: “The lucky person I’m going to choose might even be you.” Some might wonder if lucky is the rightword …
Dr Petru Iamandi