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Kagama -The Literaturevixen

I love reading everything from fantasy to historical romances. On a constant quest for more books to read.






She walks in Darkness by Evangeline Walton

She Walks in Darkness - Evangeline Walton

A gorgeous Tuscan villa harboring a terrible secret houses this beautifully harrowing adventure of ancient mystery and modern intrigue.

Archaeologist Richard Keyes and his resourceful young bride, Barbara, are expecting a blissful honeymoon in a welcoming new country. But from the moment they arrive in their secluded new home, circumstances conspire against them.

The key to an ages-old mystery lies in the catacombs under the villa, in a familial conflict reawakened after generations of sacrifice, betrayal, and madness


Evangeline Walton is a writer I was not familiar with despite the fact that she seems to have been a prolific and award winnign fantasy author.This book manuscript was  found by her husband after she had already passed away.


The Young newlywed couple Barbara and Richard arrive at the Beautiful but isolated Villa they will be staying in during their time in Italy. and immediately is affected by the atmosphere of the house. 


They decide to leave the villa but they crash with their car and Richard hurts his head. Barbara manages to get him back into the mansion but there is not much she can do for him but to make him comfortable.


Things turn very surreal for her as she is virtually alone.Even if her husband is next to her he isnt lucid because of his head injury.Things dont seem to get much better when night falls and something....wants to get in through the door.



Sounds woke me; I sat up sharply. Moonlight filled both rooms now, strong enough to show everything but color. Richard was breathing regularly, normally, beside me. My hand groped for him, and for a second the feel of him reassured me.


Then they came again—the sounds at the door!


The great, carved slab of wood was stirring, ever so slightly, in its ancient place. Its hinges creaked.


Somebody was trying to get in!


Not knocking—at a knock I would have jumped up, joyfully sure that Mattia Rossi had come at last. This quiet tugging at the door was stealthy, sinister. It kept on, soft, patient, determined.


Whoever was out there in the hall did not want to be heard, but he wanted to get in. Badly. I lay rigid, telling myself, It must be Mattia Rossi. He doesn’t knock because he’s afraid of waking us. He’s seen the wreck; he knows we’ve had a bad time. He just wants to be sure we’re all right.


I tried to call out, but I was afraid.


At last they stopped, those quietly horrible little noises. I heard receding footsteps, soft, yet very clear on the stone flagging.


I have to tell you the beginning of this story has that sort of creeping terror that makes you uneasy and makes you wish you had started reading in broad daylight


As morning comes and finding the Villas old caretaker murdered frantic with fear Barbara rushes outside  and encounters a young handsome man.She doesnt feel so scared anymore .now that she is not alone Everything will surely work out for the best.


But soon doubts start to creep in when the Young man starts exhibits volatile behavior and seems to want to seduce her.


Trying to push down her doubts they find a diary belonging to an an englishman who was caught in Italy during the WWII and the past master of the house hid him in the catacombs


The diary goes on to describe first his restlessness and then his sanity slowly detoriating from being locked away underground where he cant tell how time pass and dependant on only the occassional visits by a servant to give him food.


The diary breaks off suddenly with a brownish stain covering the pages...




This book has a lot of creepy stuff apart from the ominious diary for example the villa was built by a husband for his young bride

before he caught her in bed with his son and had him killed and her manacled ALIVE to his corpse in the catacombs beneath the house

(show spoiler)


This book was at it its strongest when the plot focused on the supernatural and vaguely  menacing aspect of the story but it lost me when it started to have characters give long boring lectures on the ancient Etruscans and it turns out that the events happening in the books are

not because of some supernatural going ons but rather the old guy who was the last owner and everyone thought died in a mental asylum turns out to be alive and the young man turns out to be his illegitemate son who has a serious grudge on his father

(show spoiler)


But what bothered me most about this book was the ending and Barbaras placid dismissal of it all.


I personally feel that such events would have effected a person much more than having her think what basically amounts to "oh I wont try to think of it anymore than I have to" and even the husband brushes it aside with some dialogue that borders on the patronizing.


This makes the book feel dated and the ending unsatisfying. Its a pity because the book itself has some evocative writing at least in the beginning,