Every once in a while, an urban legend is born that carries enough weight to spook a generation. Tales passed around a camp fire or at a teenage sleepover keep the legend alive, even if it inevitably becomes somewhat distorted from its origins.
The legend of Black Jack is very much alive in Volume One of Joseph D’Lacey’s Black Dawn duology, Black Feathers.
No one knows for sure whether Jack is the saviour of the world or evil incarnate, but one thing’s for certain: a great catastrophe is coming, and myth dictates that he is at the heart of it. A quest to find this figure of legend is undertaken by two children, each in a different era. In the present day, Gordon Black lives in a time of environmental apocalypse.
For Megan Maurice, generations have passed by, and it is a simpler time, yet Black Jack shows himself to her, from who she learns that a story must be told, and she is the one to tell it. As the children make their separate journeys along the ‘black feathered path’, various horrors test and hinder them, dreams become reality and nothing is really as it seems.
Black Feathers is bursting with Biblical imagery, stating in the prologue that it intends to open with a Nativity, then artfully weaving a tale of destruction and rebirth. It is an uncomfortable read at times, with blatant swipes at a generation much like our own, disrespecting the land and relying on technology, with global meltdown just around the corner. There is an element of predictability at times, although there are enough shocking moments to balance things.
Let us hope that Volume Two can deliver the same and a whole lot more.