Black Wind

Black Wind

4.22 (793 ratings by Goodreads)
  • Paperback
By (author) 

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Product details

  • Paperback | 544 pages
  • 111 x 181mm
  • Macdonald & Co
  • Sphere Books
  • London, United Kingdom
  • 0747402973
  • 9780747402978

Review Text

In 1981, veteran horror/sf author Wilson hit it big with The Keep, a gripping vampire novel set in Nazi Germany. Now, after the commercial disappointments of The Tomb (1984) and The Touch (1986), he returns to the occult/WW II formula with a contrived - but generally engrossing - epic yarn pitting Japanese mystical warriors against US forces. Ostensibly a memoir by one Frank Slater, the complex, shifting narrative mixes Frank's reminiscences with third-person reconstructions. At the core of both lies Frank's stormy bond to Matsuo Okumo, a Japanese boy who in 1920's San Francisco is young Frank's only pal. The two fall out when wimpy Frank punks out as Matsuo is set upon by racist bullies; soon after, Matsuo returns to Japan. There he meets his brother, Hiroki, a member of the Kakureta Kao - monks who seek truth by cutting out or lopping off sensory organs: eyes, ears, etc. Hiroki has a special mission: to refind the Kakureta Kao's long-lost secret to the Black Wind, a force that kills organic life while leaving nonorganic matter intact. As Hiroki searches, a series of high coincidences propel the plot along: Hiroki's fiancee, Meiko, with whom Matsuo falls in love, goes to S.F. There she meets Frank, who also tumbles for her. Back in Japan, Meiko and Matsuo have an affair that ends in shame and Matsuo's apparent suicide. A devastated Meiko drifts off to sea, only to wash up in Frank's lap in Hawaii. They marry: but Matsuo, now a spy, turns up alive and steals Meiko away - after nailing Frank to a tree as the attack on Pearl Harbor begins. In time, Hiroki unearths the Black Wind and unleashes it in small doses on US troops. Frank investigates, eventually running into Matsuo, busy lifting an atomic bomb from the Yanks. Convinced that Japan faces atomic annihilation if it doesn't surrender, the two ex-friends join forces to battle the Kakureta Kao - a battle that climaxes on August 6, 1944, in Hiroshima. Of great and captivating sweep, with memorable characters and some fine action writing. The forced plotting rattles, however, with those abounding coincidences and an occult element that's preposterous and wholly unnecessary; this would have been stronger as straight saga. Even so, Wilson's best since The Keep, and worthy entertainment. (Kirkus Reviews)
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Rating details

793 ratings
4.22 out of 5 stars
5 46% (366)
4 34% (272)
3 16% (129)
2 2% (19)
1 1% (7)
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