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  • The Devil's Paintbrush

    Thu, 13 Aug 2009 07:53

    Nice review of Jake Arnott's The Devil's Paintbrush over on the NextRead website:

    The Devil's Paintbrush is the story of the meeting of Major-General Sir Hector MacDonald, one of the heroes of the British Empire, and the notorious occultist Aleister Crowley. Not a combination you'd expect to find. But meet they did and Jack Arnott breathes life into those events showing both compassion and frankness about his subjects.

    It is a quite an extraordinary tale and from the list of acknowledgements I'm willing to consider that Arnott spend a lot of time on the reconstruction of events but at the same time he has to have injected some narrative compulsion to the proceedings.

    MacDonald meets Crowley as a great scandal is unfolding around the Major-General and the Beast acts as his savour. Even though limited by the order of the events Arnott takes us and the characters on a journey that goes from Paris to battlefields of Sudan via the backstreets of Edinburgh.

    And it's the battlefields of Sudan that has some of the best moments. Not only do they contain the key to the title but the core of self-destruction of MacDonald. It also shows the dark nature of imperialism. As a solider MacDonald commits some brutal and offensive acts and in private his own sexual needs were at the time offensive (more...)

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