Reviews and news

Don’t know about you, but it felt like Christmas had come early at Spectral Towers yesterday – TWO reviews of King Death and a write-up on Cate Gardner’s Nowhere Hall! So, without further ado, here they are:

King Death review number one is courtesy of David Hebblethwaite from his Follow the Thread blog. David notes especially one aspect of the story which I completely agree with and would love to see happen at some time – that Paul Finch’s tale begs to be read aloud. In common with quite a few other reviewers who have made similar observations, the rich cadences, poetry and power of his descriptive language immediately plunges the reader headlong into the picture of the medieval world Finch is painting and would lend itself readily to an atmospheric live reading. I sincerely hope that one day in the future this will indeed come to pass, maybe in some grand old hall or castle. The rest of the review can be read here and is the second one down the page.

Meanwhile, the second King Death review is one from a good friend and subscriber, Tim James, to which he gave 5 stars and posted to Goodreads. In this particular case I will quote the write-up in full here, with his permission:

“I feel slightly guilty in reviewing this chapbook when I have not reviewed the previous publications – even more so as I always intended to… 

Spectral Press is (at the moment) a small independent publishing company with a big heart and aspirations and seem to be making a solid impact on the scene, making it something to watch. 

Their output, for the moment, is limited to chapbooks – stories of about 20+ pages, all with a slightly spectral bent.

King Death is, as stated the fourth book released to date, it seems to be the least ghostly of the first four, but is (only just) my favourite. 

Set during the reign of King Edward III of England, it tells the tale of a single man, using the decimation of the plague to make his own selfish advantage. 

In such a short story there is limited room for character development, but Finch keeps the cast small, basically two characters, the main character Rodric a veteran of countless campaigns and a young boy he encounters on his travels. But it is not these two characters that so illuminated the chapbook for me, it was the description of the landscape, the plague ravaged country that really sold the book. 

There is a genuine feel of a land fallen into decay as people are viciously claimed by something that could only have been seen as the wrath of god. There is a sense of hopelessness and a constant darkness that evokes the feeling of a time that has to be seen as one of the darkest in Europe’s history.

That Finch manages to capture this in just 22 pages is a testament to his skill as a writer. 

The last line though, sells the whole thing, and just keeps it within the realms of Spectral Press’ remit.”

Thanks to Tim for taking the time and trouble to write up a review!

Next up then is a rather spiffing review of Nowhere Hall, this time from the virtual pen of Glynn James (no relation to Tim, by the way!) and posted to his personal website. It’s another great write-up of a wonderful (and wondrous) tale by an equally wonderful writer – and Glynn provides food for thought in his last paragraph. If you want to know what he says about it, then please click here.


Spectral is already thinking about the future, 2014 to be precise. Eagle-eyed readers will have noticed two new additions to the publishing roster listed at the top right-hand corner of the home page – Rob Shearman and Angela Slatter. Both these fine writers are award-winning authors, and Spectral is very excited and pleased to be able to add them to the swelling ranks of great authors joining the imprint’s already fine roster. More details will follow in due course!