The Book of the Crowman is an apocalyptic work about the importance of death and renewal. The Crowman, part man and part crow, who often appears as a scarecrow in a feathered top hat, harnesses the duel power of the land that needs death to sustain it. The people have forgotten to think of the earth and their greed for power is knocking life off balance. The earth has started to hibernate, waiting for men to die out before putting forth seed once more.
In England, in the face of this crisis, a group called the Ward rise up and seize control, promising to safeguard all of England whilst in reality running a brutal and selfish regime. Those who see clearly and long to survive with the land awaken the spirit of the Crowman. In order for balance to be restored, a boy must find the Crowman and persuade him to reveal his power.
This story of the Crowman is a faith that must continue to be witnessed and retold across generations to keep the balance alive. Those entrusted with this witness and retelling are the Keepers, individuals who are able to follow the feathered path of the Crowman into the weave of stories past, present and future. Each Keeper tells a slightly different tale. We follow the story through Megan Maurice, the first female Keeper, whose time is again facing rising greed for power over the land requiring a new faith-inspiring retelling. Her story is told alongside the boy’s as together they fight to overcome man’s lust for the machine and for dominion over the earth.
Without saying more about the plot it is already clear that familiar myths, legends and religious stories work within The Book of the Crowman: Prometheus wrestles with Christ; Cassandra and Mary Magdalene lend magnitude to Megan. This makes the story of the Crowman – and I wish I had read the two volumes closer together – resonant with a reverberation that is pleasing, relevant, occasionally irritating, but undoubtedly gripping. Meat is still my favourite Joseph D’Lacey novel, but if you are a fan of The Stand by Stephen King you will want to read these volumes and Spring is the perfect time for them.
This coming week I’m reading By Night The Mountain Burns by Juan Tomás Ávila Laurel.