Sarah Rayne

Spider Light

"The story really does grip you like an ancient vice…"


Antonia Weston has just been released after five years in prison. She wants to get away in order to get her life back together again. A cottage, set in the grounds of Quire House, deep in the country of Amberwood, is offered which Antonia grabs with both hands. The peace and tranquillity allows Antonia to return to some semblance of normality after her horrendous time in prison. However, this peace doesn't last long when menacing incidents inside the cottage begin to make Antonia think that what happened over five years ago in her life isn't over - and is still threatening to consume her new life.

Not far away stands the old mill, Twygrist, which has a horrible history and contains secrets yet to be revealed. Along with the now demolished asylum called Latchkill, this area could be quite creepy. To help out at Quire House, Antonia begins to sort out some letters and papers from over a hundred years ago. Soon she is discovering a story about both these dark places, which involves rape, deception, murder and madness. At the same time, a menace far more lifelike is stalking the grounds of Quire House and is ready to pounce on Antonia at any minute…

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I have wanted to read this author for a while now as I love the supernatural, even gothic feel to her titles. So it was with some delight that I started Spider Light. I have to say that Spider Light is one of the most bizarre books I have ever read. Thankfully, that is 'bizarre' in a good way. The story is a strange one that combines two different strands of the story from two totally different time frames. One is set in the present day, with the newly released Antonia. The other is a hundred years in the past with the unfortunate tale of Maud Lincoln who had been told by her unstable mother that when dusk fell, the 'spider light' could hide many evil things. The story really does grip you like an ancient vice and within the first 100 pages you have already been subjected to lesbianism, rape, incest and murder. Not bad going! The big question is can the author sustain the suspense for another 300 pages? The answer is - yes, she does. There are a few niggles, though. I found some of the dialogue between the people in the past sometimes sounded a bit modern. Also, for all the build up of the suspense, the way the murderer despatches Antonia is a bit of an anticlimax. Apart from that you do have a strong story, which is told in a genuinely compelling way. I will certainly be reading the rest of Ms. Rayne's work and believe you should give Spider Light a go, too.

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