01/05/2010. Contributed by Rod MacDonald
pub: Macmillan Audio. 7 CDs, 8 hours. Price: $29.99 (US). ISBN: 978-1-4272-0907-8) read by William Peter Blatty.
check out website: http://us.macmillan.com/Book.aspx?isbn=9781427209078
Mention William Peter Blatty and you will automatically connect to 'The Exorcist', such was the success of that book and the movie it brought into life. That was almost 40 years ago, believe it or not, and there has been little output from the author since then. Now, at the age of 82, he has returned with a new novel called 'Dimiter'.
This is not a sequel to 'The Exorcist'. There was in fact a novel some years ago entitled 'Legion' which was in effect a follow-up to that book but 'Dimiter' is entirely different. Be warned, if you're looking for something like 'The Exorcist', do not look here! However, if you're looking for a thoroughly intriguing book which will enthral you to the last page then look no further.
'Dimiter' has been described as being in the same vein as Umberto Eco's 'The Name Of The Rose'. That's not entirely a good description. I think this novel is in a class of its own and maybe should be used as a standard for others to make comparisons. Trying to pin this novel down is quite difficult but here we go. It's a detective story where murders are committed. Secular or supernatural, who can tell, but behind all the goings-on something else seems to be happening. Safe to say, the person committing the murders is not an ordinary human being.
What about the narration? This is by the author himself. If you have listened to excerpts on YouTube or other sources on the Internet, you might think that the quality is not very good but the CDs are excellent and his voice comes through clear and distinct with a quiet determination. I think this is one of the best narrations I have heard for some time. He knows his own work and the delivery while not ostentatious nevertheless packs a big punch. Stealthily and calmly, William Peter Blatty takes you through events, some horrific in nature, towards an unexpected conclusion.
The novel begins in the early 1970s in Albania which, at that time, was ruled by Enver Hoxha's brutal totalitarian regime. Someone has been taken prisoner but, despite seemingly endless torture, he reveals nothing. Dimiter is the prisoner. He has connections to the USA and is an agent from a secret service department. His training enables him to endure tortures that no ordinary mortal would be able to survive.
Somehow Dimiter manages to escape. The agent disappears or so we think, but we all know he isn't dead. We are then introduced to several characters, colourful individuals, all associated with a hospital in Jerusalem. In the process of getting to know these people, deaths start to happen. Inexplicable in nature, everyone seems to be baffled. The situation only gets worse and everything seems to explode with nerve jangling calamity. What about Dimiter? He obviously has some connection to Jerusalem but you will need to listen to the book to find the answer!
What makes this audio book stand out alone is the narration by the author. It adds another dimension to an already superb novel. In fact, it makes it 10 times better and you would be well-advised to choose this form of media if possible. Certainly recommended, this is one of the best books on the market for some time.
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Stephen Hunt's novels - USA