The Exiled by William Meikle starts of as a gruesome crime story centered around the disappearance of several young girls from in and around Edinburgh. The only thing that links these mysterious disappearances is the mutilated corpses of black swans. Leading the investigation is police detective John Granger who, when following his reporter brother to a farmhouse that may hold hold the answer to the abductions. There he discovers that the answer to these crimes is something beyond the scope of human reasoning, something far more dangerous than anyone could have imagined.
The Exiled takes one part Tony Black hard bitten crime novel and one part Raymond Feist Faerie Tale and combines them into one hell of a book that travels across the boundaries of genre fiction as though it is one of Fey folk.
The gritty realism of an Edinburgh based crime procedural is counterbalanced perfectly with the fantastical elements of the Faerie realm. The biggest problem facing books that try to merge the mundane with the fantastical is getting the two to merge seamlessly, if this isn't done correctly the story will jar and seem forced. Meikle has obviously taken great care in ensuring that this doesn't happen. For the first quarter or so of the book the reader is slowly introduced to the possibility that there is more than meets the eye to this story. It is only when we get to the farmhouse that things take a proper right turn into Narnia.
Rather than just slamming the reader in the face with the supernatural, Meikle gives this encounter an almost dreamlike quality, John and his brother are still unsure as to what actually happened. Which then leads them on a quest to find the truth about the Black Swan.
It's this quest that introduces us to my favourite character in the book, the slightly mad conspiracy theorist Brian Ferguson If you have ever walked the street of Edinburgh then you will have surely met a man like this. Meikle's characters live and breath in this book, from the downbeat Detective and his brother to the chilling serial killer. After reading this book you will keep your eyes peeled for a big man carrying a huge stone axe standing in your doorway for quire some time, such is the menacing power of him.
The story itself moves along with great speed barely allow the reader any time to draw breath. Totally gripping The Exiled delivers a killer story that will appeal to fans of both crime fiction and dark fantasy.
As a side note The Exiled is also a masterclass in how to write a Scottish book, the speech and mannerisms of the characters in the book are spot on. They never come across as cliched stereotypes. So if you are a writer looking at setting your book in Scotland then take a look at this book it will show you how to do it properly.
When several young girls are abducted from various locations in Edinburgh, Detective John Granger and his brother Alan, a reporter, investigate the cases from different directions. The abductor is cunning, always one step ahead, and the only clue he leaves behind at each scene are the brutalized corpses of black swans.
When the brothers' investigations finally converge at a farmhouse in Central Scotland, they catch a glimpse of where the girls have been taken, a place both far away yet close enough to touch. A land known throughout Scottish history with many names: Faerie, Elfheim, and the Astral Plane. It is a place of legend and horror, a myth. But the brothers soon discover it's real, and, to catch the abductor, they will have to cross over themselves.
To catch a killer, John and Alan Granger will have to battle the Cobbe, a strange and enigmatic creature that guards the realm, a creature of horrific power that demands a heavy price for entry into its world. The fate of both realms hangs in the balance…and time is running out...
PURCHASE A COPY OF THE EXILED HERE