Don Sakers,
The Curse of the Zwilling
(Speed-of-C, 2003)

In The Curse of the Zwilling, a group of university students take on a great evil that seeks to control the world. Don Sakers sets the novel geographically in this world, with a few additions. The story is mostly told through the eyes of the students and pulls from a few different branches of folklore and legend.

The students are all in the Department of Comparative Religion at Patapsco University. The department is unique in that it teaches students magic and spells. The extensive collection of arcane tomes and artifacts is part of what draws the Zwilling there. The students draw from the spells they already know, other spells that are in the tomes and the wisdom of their professors as they combat the Zwilling, which is prepared to attack them however it needs to, and it does so both directly and indirectly using its considerable powers to wreck havoc in their lives.

David Galvin, a graduate student who ends up leading the group, takes some interesting steps to help protect his charges. You are shown the stress of leadership. The fears and doubts of the other students (Mark Evans, Cathy Vovcenko, Linda Falk and Bob Toland) are also shown throughout. The changes in the group dynamic are also interesting to watch. Their diverse interests when it comes to the occult are shown and they are, for the most part, comfortable using their strengths. A couple of the students step into roles that will last them a lifetime.

The five students are the heart of the novel and it is as much about them as it is about their battle with the Zwilling. The Curse of the Zwilling is more modern fantasy than thriller, but either way it remains interesting from start to end.

- Rambles
written by Paul de Bruijn
published 10 April 2004

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