I’d only ever heard of author Mark Morris through his Doctor Who and Torchwood novels and whilst I enjoyed those, I never sought out any more of his work. Clearly I was missing a trick as The Wraiths of War is an unmissable slab of horror/science fiction/fantasy that is hard to put down, once you’ve started. The fact that it’s the third part of the Obsidian Heart trilogy and I’d never read the other two, matters not, as Morris immediately pulls you into this world with fantastically detailed storytelling, which gives familiarity with this character and his plight.
Whilst The Wraiths of War can stake a claim in a number of genres, it is essentially and much to my delight, a time travel story, with elements of horror. The protagonist of the story Alex Locke has the ability to time travel thanks to a mysterious obsidian heart, which holds the key to his and the rest of humanity’s destiny. His time travelling escapades take him to the year 2097, the horrors of World War I, as well as present day all the while he is pursued by the mysterious Dark Man. Like any good time travel story though, there are consequences to any actions taken during time travel and Alex has to weave his way through this tangled web he has created, for the sake of his family and the rest of mankind.
Morris’s experience in the world of Doctor Who, has clearly given him an insight in how (we perceive) time travel works. The story never gets so complicated that we lose track, nor does it skimp on detail. The description of Alex Locke venturing into “No Man’s Land” between German and British trenches in World War I, foraging around in the darkness, desperately trying to keep out of sight from German snipers, crawling through corpses in varying states of decay, all described here in gory, vivid detail, is not something I’m going to forget any time soon. The Wraiths of War is a classic edge of the seat, page turner and I cannot wait to get my hands on the previous entries in the series…… Chris Andrews