THE MALICE BOX - Martin Langfield
Create a fantasy quest, add a mystery and some thriller elements, include an online community and game and THE MALICE BOX is something way outside the normal, expected style of Thriller or Fantasy Quest novel.
Robert Reckliss (yes that is his name) is seemingly just another Englishman in New York. He and his wife Katherine originally met at Cambridge, at the same time that they both fell under the spell of the mercurial Adam - who has continued to appear and disappear from their lives since their school days.
When Robert receives what seems to be a simple copper puzzle box, both he and Katherine assume this is just another one of Adam's little practical jokes or puzzles. But that night one of Robert's acquaintances kills himself in curious circumstances and the existence of an arcane weapon that could wipe the Western world from the face of the planet is revealed. Suddenly, New York in the year 2004 is a battleground to the death between ancient forces and Robert must use his spiritual powers to overcome seven mystical trials - Earth, Water, Fire, Air, Ether, Mind and Spirit. Only then can he come face to face with evil in a disused subway station beneath City Hall and save the World from destruction.
THE MALICE BOX is definitely unusual. Set in current day New York there's a really weird combination of the arcane and the current day - New York interwoven into a plot that is sometimes told in current day language, sometimes in something more Gothic and elaborate. It has a highly complex plot combining the alchemical and the mystical, taking characters on a journey of danger and self-discovery.
Because the THE MALICE BOX is a combination of fantasy, thriller and mystery it is a different reading experience from a standard, more conventional thriller. It is also different from a lot of recent big-name thrillers in that it does have the adventure or the quest, but the characters are an important component at the same time. The fantastical aspects of THE MALICE BOX will require an acceptance of the unexpected and the other-worldly which is not going to appeal to all readers. The combination of the styles of language - the gothic and the everyday is also obvious at points in the book - not necessarily completely off-putting, but unusual enough to stand out.
The online game at http://www.maliceboxquest.com/(link is external) is still running, although the prize competition is resolved. Playing the game adds a level of interest and multi-media experience that could just be that little something different that you're looking for.
An unusual suspense thriller inspired by alchemy, riddles and the work of Carl Jung, The Malice Box traces the desperate race against time of Robert, an English journalist in New York, to halt the detonation of a mysterious spiritual weapon -- a doomsday device of unimaginable power, hidden somewhere in Manhattan -- called the Ma'rifat', or Gnosis. Guided only by the independent-minded young psychic Terri and his troubled old college friend Adam, and under the gaze of the sinister Watchman, Robert must undergo seven ordeals in as many days, each taking him further towards danger, and deeper into the mysteries of his own past. Published in the USA by Pegasus Books, The Malice Box draws on a wide array of religious and wisdom traditions to tell a story of spiritual jeopardy and redemption.