Five old friends catch the ferry from the mainland to Stornoway on the Isle of Lewis to celebrate the forthcoming wedding of one of their number and take in a music festival. What could possibly go wrong? Quite a lot, as it turns out. "The Wolves of Langabhat" by D.A. Watson is a fast-paced and deeply engaging read that interweaves two main narrative strands set a thousand years apart on the Isle of Lewis. As the strands converge the reader is drawn increasingly into a world of darkness and chaos, a world in which the safe and easy security of the modern world - especially the modern world in somewhere as relatively crime-free as the Isle of Lewis - falls away to reveal a savage and primeval reality that is utterly alien. As horror stories go, this is ambitious and spectacular, and extremely successful. And if they ever make a film of it, the budget for fake gore will need to be large.
You spend a short time wondering whether this is going to be a book about relationships. There seems a slight ambivalence amongst the party about this being Cal's stag do, and the presence of attractive, but married, Scarlett in the group throws up questions about who is going to end up with who, and why, and whether lives are going to be changed as a result. They are, but not quite as you initially expect.
It is another member of the party, Ian, who until not long previously had been a member of a leading rock group, who causes the the two strands of the story to collide. As we move backwards and forwards between an invasion of the island a thousand years earlier and a modern story that keeps finding new and entertaining ways of becoming darker, we are drawn into a world that is at one level instantly recognisable to anyone who has spent any time in the Western Isles, yet which as a result of a visit by an innocent stag party and the awakening of an ancient horror is changed beyond all recognition. As the book drives inexorably towards its climactic ending the body count mounts exponentially and you find yourself emerging from time to time to draw breath. Choosing somewhere as quiet as Lewis in which to set the story simply adds to its impact, and in many ways it is the island itself that is the central character linking the two strands of this entertaining book together.