Pilgrims of the Pool, by Linda Acaster, Reviewed.


The third book in the trilogy, and a fitting conclusion to a compelling story, Pilgrims of the Pool draws the threads together and weaves an ending that’s the only one possible.

The book combines three strands, weaving them into a cohesive tale that takes the reader into different worlds. Nick Blaketon, in his continuing search for Alice, lives in a contemporary world based in Durham and around the mysterious and sinister Pool, on the North Yorks Moors. Ernald exists in a mediaeval monastic world of violence, superstition, religious fervour and duplicity as he travels in search of a miraculous spring. And Timothy Glossmer struggles as a student in a commercial world at odds with his environmental concerns and protesting friends. These three lives converge on the mysterious Pool, located on the isolated moorland farm.

The author skilfully portrays her characters as they struggle to find answers to their personal quests for knowledge and fulfilment of very different desires. So much of what they seek relies on faith in its various forms; faith that’s tested to the limit for all involved.

As always, with Linda Acaster’s writing, the characters are as real as your friends and enemies; they’re people you’ve met and interacted with. Real people.

And, again as always, the author has researched her subject. The descriptions of contemporary life in all the locations are so real the reader feels as though he’s present. And the narrative surrounding the life and journey of the monk plunges the reader deep into the realities of life in the Middle Ages. Terrifying!

There are mysteries here that remain unresolved, as they should, and are left to the imagination of the reader. But the central mystery of Nick and his beloved Alice is resolved in the only way it could be. The denouement is complex, enthralling, compelling and ultimately utterly satisfying. This is a proper page-turner, with a real story acted out by entirely credible characters with their faults, failures, foibles and hopes.

A great read that I thoroughly enjoyed.

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