Review: Caedmon’s Song

On a balmy June night, Kirsten, a young university student, strolls home through a silent moonlit park. Suddenly her tranquil mood is shattered as she is viciously attacked.

When she awakes in hospital, she has no recollection of that brutal night. But then, slowly and painfully, details reveal themselves – dreams of two figures, one white and one black, hovering over her; wisps of a strange and haunting song; the unfamiliar texture of a rough and deadly hand . . .

In another part of England, Martha Browne arrives in Whitby, posing as an author doing research for a book. But her research is of a particularly macabre variety. Who is she hunting with such deadly determination? And why?

by Peter Robinson

My Thoughts

The was one of Peter Robinson’s earlier novels – written in the late 1980’s – but only published later on (in 2003). The time in which the story took place was also during that time period where there were no cell phones, no emails, less forensics and other technology. It was also not written as part of the Inspector Banks series and there was much less focus on the police and criminology.

I found this a very difficult book to get into. I had one false start even. I got to page 50 odd and I stopped and read something else. I wasn’t even sure I wanted to finish the book. This weekend, however, I started again at the beginning and read it through to the end. I had to know what happened; how it ended. Everything joined up and made sense and came full circle.

The writing style was different to what I have come to expect from Peter Robinson; that was perhaps why I struggled initially. The story was also split into what the reader would assume to be two separate stories initially that then came together later on and overlapped right at the end.

The story was dark, deep, cruel, segmented, both emotional and emotional-less. The victim of a serial killer miraculously survives having suffered immense trauma. Her entire life, her future is destroyed by surviving and having so much taken away; it also destroys her parents lives to much of an extent. She then goes on to become a killer herself in the name of extracting revenge and freeing herself; finding herself again – that part of her that died.

What I found strange and difficult to wrap my head around was the fact that her murders were a means to an end; collateral damage. She was not portrayed in the same light as the monster serial killer. Was she not just as bad as him?

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