The Wounded Thorn. Fay Sampson. Severn House Publishers. June 2015. 208 pp. hbk. ISBN #: 9780727884855.
Hilary and her friend Veronica are off to vacation in Glastonbury, the famed, sacred site where it is believed King Arthur and Guinevere were buried, where the Isle of Avalon existed, where ancient Celtic Churches were founded and where danger lurks for our two main characters. A place like Glastonbury is a place that attracts not only sincere, curious, educated and sincere tourists but also some people who can best be described as “strange.” Yes, there are New Age followers, staunch Christians, Muslims, and other individuals one would expect in any tourist spot in the world, but some of the characters in this story are “colorful” to say the least.
Hilary and Veronica on their first day of visiting the are run into a Muslim woman dressed in tradition burka, a gentleman who dresses more like a court jester than a 21st century male visitor, and a deeply conservative man who promises curses and damnation for all those who are not Christian. His intolerance gives him an apoplectic look that actually frightens Hilary and Veronica. But their shock at this person is nothing compared with what is to follow.
Without spoiling the story, the reader will be flipping the pages as Hilary and Veronica explore a potential bomb plant, a devastating bomb explosion and a shocking murder. It’s these two spunky ladies who are always two steps ahead of the police and detectives in their slow but precise investigation. The plot is complex, several characters are the targets of our heroines’ search, and the conclusion is so staggering the reader could never imagine it all coming to pass as it does. Suffice to say that the need for attention in several characters runs over the top and the author challenges all who would stereotype certain characters to task for their erroneous thinking.
In a world where terrorism on the national and international levels seems always looming, this novel explores the issue with its ambiguous, complex and deeply frightening complexities. “If you see something, report it,” becomes much more than just a nice platitude in this cleverly crafted mystery thriller. Nicely done, Ms. Sampson!