AD 1298 - Findlater Castle in the Scottish Highlands becomes a place of mystery and doom for Jamison Munro and his wife, Havilland. Traveling across the highlands one dark and stormy night, they stumble upon a lonely Host in Findlater Castle, a pathetic soul waiting for his wife to return to him. It is a terrible tale of a tragic love story that the Host tells the travelers but when Havilland becomes curious about mysterious tapping sounds that go on in the middle of the night, she soon realizes the danger that she and her husband are in. It becomes a race against time for Havilland to free a trapped spirit and save both their lives in the process.
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Spooky in presentation, entirely riveting
I was primed for this listen because I had first read Deep into Darkness in an anthology, titled Once Upon a Haunted Castle released just before Halloween last year. Narrator Gethyn Edwards did the story justice and then some. Superb in the telling, and the reading of the poem, well, it is over the top!
Heather works at a show called “World’s Best haunts”. She and another woman, Lynn, travel to sites where history speaks of haunts, hence, that’s why she’s in a village close to Findlater Castle, trying to discover something about the castle.
The sound effect of wind blowing and a plodding, slow drawling voice put me on edge. I soon snap out of it because I’m suddenly in Three Kings Inn with Heather and Lynn waiting for the local guide to take us out to the castle. We ply ourselves with beer, giggle a lot and wait. When an interesting type walks into the inn, we strike up a conversation with him. Since our guide didn’t show, we’re hoping the man may know of some of the legends surrounding the castle.
He’s well acquainted with the legends and the poem, The Raven, by Edgar Allen Poe, associated with them.
“Because I taught such things,” he said. “I taught literature at the University of Edinburgh for many a year. I know Poe. And that tale is about Findlater Castle.”
“That’s amazing,” she said. “Then you must be an expert on the legends around the castle. I mean, living here and all, you must know everything about it. What’s the story behind the woman who wanders the grounds in chains, looking for her long lost love?”
The old man snorted. “Poe took that legend and twisted it,” he said. “He wrote about a man longing for his love, Lenore, but that wasn’t the truth at all. There is tale of a woman who wanders the ground, looking for her lost love. That’s Lenore.”
We aren’t put off by the man’s warnings to stay away from the castle, rather we are more intrigued than ever. We want to find out if it is haunted and plan on visiting the castle the following morning.
The poem is one the author likes very much, so it’s equally interesting to see what she does with it in this story. She takes the idea that the narrator of the poem is going mad. Why? 1) His longing for his lover, Lenore, 2) The constant tapping of the raven.
At the end of the novella, Le Veque has included the full poem. Narrator Gethyn Edwards brings this poem to full-living color. I, simply, love it. And yes, he does sound a bit mad!
Lady Havilland and Jamison Munro make an appearance in this novella and driving the story forward. They are the hero and heroine of The Red Lion, released October, 2016. In the year A.D. 1290, they arrive at the castle, cold, hungry, and drenched with rain. Jamison is fighting a high fever, but determined to keep his lady fair safe. The circumstances would appear normal enough, if not for the host and his man-servant. Both are just plain spooky! The raven who joins them, flies and squawks as raven's do. Lady Havilland is no weakling in her own right. She hears tapping late at night and is curious to know where the tapping is coming from. While her husband is sleeping, filled with mulled wine, she follows the sounds and discovers something so unbelievable she is in shock! I’m sure I’d be sniveling under the covers, snuggled up to Jamison!
This story is not the normal Le Veque read, but it is an amazing piece of work. A true page-turner! I dare you not to read or listen to it.
Oh, I absolutely love the way the story ends. We get our happy ever after!
- BOOKTALK WITH EILEEN