Conversations in the Abyss by Michael Brookes

Conversations in the Abyss is the second part of a trilogy and although you could read it as a standalone book I would recommend that you read volume one, The Cult of Me, first. That’s what I did (review here) and I was so intrigued by that story I couldn’t resist getting the second volume. This is not my usual sort of reading matter and I think that if I’d started straight off with Conversations I wouldn’t have finished it; but other readers who reviewed the book just read it alone and thought it was great.

So, having got that out of the way: this book is amazing. If you like devils and demons there’s something for you; if you like to be horrified there’s something for you too; if you like a good old political thriller there’s plenty for you; if anticipating the apocalyptic is to your taste then there’s plenty for you as well. And it really is a page-turner; when I finished Cult I bought Conversations straightaway but I’ve kept holding back from reading it as I suspected that once started I wouldn’t be able to put it down. Funnily enough it didn’t quite work out like that; I read roughly the first third over three night’s reading……. and then I couldn’t put it down and everything else was on hold until I’d finished it.

So, what’s it about? I think the book is best summed up by the narrator when he asks Venet, one of the characters he’s in conversation with, what he has to do and Venet tells him in reply that he has to stop the Apocalypse. That’s all right then. In the first book the narrator ended up in let’s say a difficult place and much of the start of the second book is him talking with a few visitors and over a period of time (an hour, a day, a week, a month, who knows?) he explores his situation. Meanwhile, back in the other place things are hotting up and clearly a crisis is looming. Bringing all the strands of the book together is really well handled and despite the huge element of fantasy it’s entirely plausible.

Once again there is a clear, direct writing style and I think my only criticism is that sometimes the sentence structure is a bit staccato without any apparent purpose. However that is a minor complaint when taken in the context of some of the wonderful poetic, descriptive passages and evocative turns of phrase of which this is typical: “The obsidian exuded cruel menace, a coldness which sliced through my will as if it were a wind of razors.” Stunning: what a fantastic image.

The author explores a whole range of ‘where do we all come from’ and ‘what is god’ and ‘where is heaven’ sort of questions starting with the beginning and ending on the edge of doom. Although I don’t normally seek out that sort of writing I really enjoyed the way the logic of the argument was sustained right through; and although it has religious overtones it isn’t in any way a proselytising tract.

There’s a kind of Dan Brown aspect to the politicians, priests and pagans thread in the novel which works really well and the projected route to Armageddon is, I think, entirely feasible.

The ending is completely unexpected but brings the book to a great conclusion even though you are left stunned because the rest of the tale, of course, is in part three which doesn’t appear to have been written yet. Please get on with it Mr Brookes! I really want to know what happens next!

You can get links to all Michael Brookes books 
on his Amazon author pages UK and USA and on his Blog.