Ghosts of Albion: Witchery

Ghosts of Albion: Witchery

4.5 4
by Christopher Golden, Amber Benson

“A fabulously entertaining combination of Victorian conventions, sensuous undertones, and some seriously evil magic.”
–Charlaine Harris, author of Dead to the World, on Ghosts of Albion: Accursed

Before you can save Albion, you must destroy the poison in its black heart.

William and Tamara Swift’s newfound sorcerous powers as

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“A fabulously entertaining combination of Victorian conventions, sensuous undertones, and some seriously evil magic.”
–Charlaine Harris, author of Dead to the World, on Ghosts of Albion: Accursed

Before you can save Albion, you must destroy the poison in its black heart.

William and Tamara Swift’s newfound sorcerous powers as Protectors of Albion pale before the demonic forces threatening Britannia. But William and Tamara have formidable allies in Lord Byron, Queen Bodicea, and Lord Admiral Nelson–England’s noble, notorious Ghosts of Albion.

Responding to a plea from Cornwall, Tamara discovers that the rumors of young women, both human and fairy, vanishing without a trace are horribly true. Instead of hard clues, she uncovers only whispers of witches, infernal abductions, and a pyre of innocents planned for the solstice. Indeed, Tamara has never faced a more dangerous task–for the legendary land of King Arthur’s Camelot also harbors dark, bloody deeds and a waking evil. Soon nothing, not even mighty Albion, will be safe from the deadly peril.

Amber Benson, who immortalized Tara in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Christopher Golden, Bram Stoker Award—winning author of the Shadow Saga, have created a voluptuous, twisted thriller. Based on the BBC Web series that became a smash hit in England, Ghosts of Albion: Witchery brings to life a sizzling, ninteenth century world of fiends, phantoms, and spine-tingling terror.

Praise for Ghosts of Albion: Accursed

“Demons, bodice-ripping passion, and some good old murky London gloom; all one can ask for in a dark night’s reading.”
–Kirkus Reviews

“Equal doses of dark humor and genuine horror.”
–Library Journal

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The Ghosts of Albion themselves, including Lord Admiral Nelson and Lord Byron, join the fight against mystic evil in the rousing sequel to Ghosts of Albion: Accursed, Witchery: Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

Random House Publishing Group
Publication date:
Ghosts of Albion Series
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 8.10(h) x 1.00(d)

Read an Excerpt


On a late spring day in Highgate, north of London, the warm air was heavy with the promise of rain. William Swift sat in a room on the third floor of Ludlow House and gazed with determined hatred at his father, who peered back at him with a demon’s eyes and a madman’s smile.

Evening was still hours away, but in that chamber darkness had already fallen. It was no ordinary darkness, no mundane arrival of night. It was a living, churning shadow that had swallowed the room and blotted out every bit of natural daylight, so that the windows were black as pitch and a fog of darkness pulsed and breathed, filling the space between the two living beings who sat facing each other on hard wooden chairs.

The only light came from thin white candles that had been placed every six inches in a rough circle around the center of the room, a circle that included both William and his father, Henry, within its boundaries. The candles had been made by virgin hands and cooled in holy water, and an unnatural blue tint engulfed each wick. The color was beautiful and calming and strong. The shifting shadows that swirled about could not touch that uncanny blue light.

The room had once been a nursery. Both William and his younger sister, Tamara, had slept here in their infancy. He was determined that once the demon was gone, and his father was restored, no one would ever use the nursery again. With his own hands he would board it up, nail it shut, and remove the knob. They were, each member of the Swift family, forever stained by their contact with the evil and the damned, and their home was equally tainted.

This infestation in particular, though, could not be allowed to remain. At the same moment as he and Tamara had inherited the abilities and duties of the Protectors of Albion—novices though they were in a perilous and eternal war—their father had been possessed by this demon Oblis. As they studied and practiced and honed their knowledge and their skills, each new triumph convinced them that now they would have the fortitude needed to exorcise the creature from Henry Swift.

Yet each time they tried, they failed.

William had been growing more and more restless. The knowledge that his father was trapped within his own body, enslaved to the demon that was housed therein, haunted the young man, awake and asleep. His work as manager of the family bank, Swift’s of London, had suffered. Too often he wandered around, little more than a ghost himself, dark circles under his eyes. At times he nodded off, waking to find himself in the midst of a conversation, or having walked into a room without remembering why he’d gone there or what he’d been seeking.

But now the moment had come. He would not rest until the demon had been extracted from his father’s flesh.

The creature sat across from him, grinning in the shadows that danced with the blue light of those blessed candles. The eyes that opposed him were not those of Henry Swift, but of Oblis. The demon often attempted to manipulate the members of the household by speaking in Henry’s voice, exhibiting the gentle kindness of a father. And from time to time, William thought that perhaps it really was his father, wrestling the demon down or slipping through when Oblis was distracted.

But he could never be sure, could never know if he spoke to the man or the beast.

All of that was going to end.

The darkness was cold. A rime of ice frosted the windows and the floors, the walls and the chairs. William and the demon stared at each other, both breathing evenly. Oblis’s expression was strangely curious.

In the center of the room, precisely midway between them, stood an elegant, handmade perfume bottle swirled with pink and red and blue glass and stoppered with a handmade glass butterfly.

“Well, now, this is lovely, isn’t it?” the demon said in Henry’s voice. “Just the two of us, and a pretty bauble.”

William glared at him. “We’re not alone.”

Oblis sat back in the chair, comfortable in spite of the chains that bound him to it. They were, after all, only physical bonds to prevent him from causing harm to Henry’s body, or attacking anyone who entered the room. Once the chains themselves had held many spells, binding magic. But he had managed to escape more than once, and William and Tamara had become very, very careful. The numerous spells that kept him prisoner were in the walls themselves; they would not allow him to leave the room while his demonic essence was within the flesh of Henry Swift. The young Protectors made no attempt to shackle his spirit alone—they wanted the demon to depart their father’s flesh, more than anything, and their spells would not prevent that—but Oblis was not quite through tormenting them yet.

“No, we’re not alone, are we?” the demon whispered, in his own voice now, a kind of serpentine rasp that seemed spoken just beside William’s ear. “Your father’s here with us, isn’t he? Though he’s a bit tongue-tied at the moment.” He chuckled at his own wit.

William remained impassive. He had learned not to rise to the demon’s bait.

Another voice flowed from the darkness. “This is a bad idea,” it said. “I wish to make certain that, later, you’ll remember that I warned you.”

The demon arched an eyebrow.

“When I said we weren’t alone,” William told him, “I wasn’t referring merely to my father.”

“Oh, I’m well aware of the presence of the ghost,” Oblis replied, not bothering to glance into the shadows from which the voice had come. “I simply take no notice. I don’t like to encourage this impression they have, that they are of some consequence.”

A low chiming sound filtered into the shadows of the room, and a figure began to manifest in the corner, beside a blackened window. The specter had one arm and was dressed in the garb of the Royal Navy, but the navy of years past, not the present day. Lord Admiral Horatio Nelson was one of many ghosts who functioned as allies for the Protectors of Albion, attempting to aid them in defending the mystical soul of England against sinister forces that would corrupt or destroy it.

“I’m also not sure what you hoped to gain from the phantom’s participation,” Oblis went on. “He cannot harm me. Not while I occupy the form of your dear, dear father.”

William opened his hands. “True enough. Oh, Horatio could hurt you a great deal, but he wouldn’t, as long as you possess my father. But we’ll soon have you out of there. And then you’ll find the fury of a ghost of far greater consequence than you’ve ever imagined. We’ve each a reason to make you suffer, but I suspect Bodicea’s vengeance upon you will last an eternity.”

The demon only scowled, but William saw a flicker of doubt in Oblis’s eyes that pleased him. The ritual ought to work, but if it went poorly and Oblis tried to escape, Horatio ought to be able to hold onto the vapor demon long enough to imprison him. He might even be able to destroy the demon once it had left its human host.

One way or another, they would cage him. And if they could cage him, they could destroy him.

But the ghost of that brave, if slightly pompous and effete, admiral had not been enlisted to take part in this ritual as a combatant. William had simply wanted someone there to watch over him, to warn him if he seemed to be falling under the demon’s influence, and to sound an alarm if the worst happened.

“William . . .” the ghost cautioned.

“I’ll remember, Horatio,” the young man replied.

“You don’t know if it will work.”

William stared at his father, his gaze locked again upon the eyes of the demon within. “No, I don’t. But I’ve run out of patience.”

Oblis smirked with Henry’s lips. “This should be interesting, then.”

Though there was a tremor in his heart, William kept his hands steady as he raised them, revealing the straight razor clasped in his right hand. He flicked it open with a flourish, the gleaming steel sliding out of the ivory handle.

Before he could begin to doubt, he drew the blade across his left wrist, hissing through his teeth with the sting. A line of blood welled up instantly and began to trickle across his palm. Several drops fell to the floor.

And then the blood began to pulse from the cut, the flow increasing.

When he spoke, the words were in halting German, memorized from a handwritten journal produced by a demonologist whose work William had discovered in the course of his research.

“With the blood of his blood, I summon you,” he said. “With the blood of his blood, I draw you out.”

Several drops that had begun to fall were abruptly arrested in mid-air, quivering there a moment. Then they began to flow across the room, sliding through the air slowly, like mercury rising. Before long, the string of blood stretched toward the center of the room, until it reached a point just above the perfume bottle—the receptacle—he had placed there.

For the first time, the demon looked concerned. Henry’s brow furrowed deeply.

“What do you think you’ve discovered, boy?”

William ignored him, massaging his left arm, running his hand down from the elbow to the wrist so that the blood flowed from the slit. More and more ran out and into the air, and the stream of blood that led from him to the center of the room thickened.

From that point above the perfume bottle, the blood began to streak outward in multiple strings, tracing the air in straight lines that led toward the white candles that circled them.

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Ghosts of Albion: Witchery 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
¿Witchery¿ is the second novel from Amber Benson (fan favorite ¿Tara Maclay¿ from Buffy) and Christopher Golden, in the ¿Ghosts of Albion¿ animated series that began on the BBC¿s website. Like the first novel ¿Accursed¿, ¿Witchery¿ takes the story to levels that were not possible on the BBC, not just in terms of what could be done technically, but storywise as well. The story is darker, more dangerous and steeped in Victorian era sensuality. The story continues the exploits of the Swift Siblings, Tamara and William, the newly anointed ¿Protectors of Albion¿, the protectors of England¿s magical soul. Back for more adventures are the epynonymous ¿Ghosts of Albion¿ Queen Bodicea, Lord Horatio Nelson, and Lord Byron who defend Albion even after their own deaths. Also returning are their allies, both human and otherwise. The Swifts must return to Cornwall when they learn that young girls, both human and faerie, are disappearing into the night without a trace of their whereabouts, and some have been discovered dead. The local townspeople fear that it might have something to do with the old tales of ¿witches¿ in the area dating back to King Arthur¿s time. Of course they need to figure out what is going on, who is doing it and how to stop it before the Solstice, or certainly a dozen girls will die. In the meantime the siblings still have their demon-possessed father to deal with, the machinations of the Algernon Club, and William¿s impatient fiancé Sophia. Once again authors Benson and Golden paint a rich picture on a fertile canvas. Exotic locals such as a faerie stronghold in Cornwall and a Louisiana bayou are contrasted with moments of beauty and sheer horror. Even such mundane locals as the bank William runs is not safe from the darkness in their lives. Benson and Golden mix and match their Gothic feel with fairy tales of England¿s past. The result is something darker and more dangerous. It is reminiscent of Golden¿s own ¿Myth Hunter¿ series or ¿The Menagerie¿ series he co-writes with Tom Sniegoski. Yet again there is something else here that can only be attributed to Ms. Benson¿s hand in the work. This creates such an alchemy that both authors seemed pushed to do better in the other¿s presence. ¿Myth Hunter¿ is modern noir in feel, ¿The Menagerie¿ feels like a gothic ode to superheroes, ¿Ghosts of Albion¿ is a Keats poem, dripping with blood and lust. Where ¿Accursed¿ had the required set up to bring in new readers and thus a slower start, the action in ¿Witchery¿ begins right away and the tension does not let up till the very end. But it is not all action, there is also character development and carefully crafted plotting. The world made believable because they take the time to make the people in it believable. And students of Victorian age occult history and horror fiction fans should look for some surprise ¿cameos¿ as well. The attention paid to research by the authors is in and of itself rewarding something many modern horror writers fail to adequately do. In the end you will be like me. Loving this story and desperately wanting more from this world.
harstan More than 1 year ago
When their grandfather dies, Tamara and William Swift become the new protectors of Albion, sworn to protect Britain from her mystical enemies. Although they are new to their positions and must learn how to use their powers, Tamara and William, the ¿mystic defenders of the soul of England¿, have the help of the ghosts of Lord Byron, Queen Bodicea and Lord Admiral Nelson.---------------------------- William is determined to oust the demon Oblis from his father but he shuts out his fiancée Sophia Winchell who has nobody to turn except William¿s father when she thinks he has temporarily defeated the demon within. Tamara is at Camelford where it is said King Arthur and Mordred fought their fatal battle. Virgin girls from the town and fairies from Stronghold, the border manor between the mortal world and faerie and unseen by human eyes are disappearing and whispers of witches, half humans and half demons are said to be taking them. Tamara knows that they are still alive and will be used in an evil spell to bring forth a malevolence into Albion that she and her allies must prevent at any cost.---------------- This magical and enchanting Victorian Gothic thriller shows the champions of light battling the minions of darkness in a horror tale that pulls the audience into the storyline and keeps them there because there is no break in the action. Surprisingly, in spite of the non stop adventures the characters are fully developed including the ghosts. The amusing Serena, the less than one foot sprite who is always ready to fight, is used as comic relief to lessen tension levels when they threaten to become too overwhelming, seems in a small way genuine.--------------- Harriet Klausner
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Booklover0080 More than 1 year ago
Good book. This is a good second book in the series. At least I hope there is another book to round out the first two. Two amazing authors. Love them.