Monday, June 22, 2009

An example of a writer's early work for comparison

David Morrell's "Blood Oath" was written in 1982. It has a bit of the author's own history to it in that like the lead character, Morrell never knew his own father who was killed in WWII.
Imagine if your father died in WWII and you went to France to visit the grave and found that there were no records of him?
This is what happens to Peter Houston. He's in France to visit his father's grave and give his father the news that Peter's mother has died. Not only is Peter's father not in that military cemetery but there are no records of him. The administrator is baffled and tells Peter that this has happened in two other occasions.
All Peter has is info that Pierre de St. Laurent wrote to Peter's mother and promised to look after his father's grave but now St. Laurent is also missing.
A stranger tells Peter that the person he seeks is in another town and while Peter and his wife Jan are driving there, a van forces them off the road into a river. Peter survives but Jan doesn't.
When he awakens, he is back at the hotel he had been staying at. The owner and his daughter, Simone, felt pity for his loss and permit him to recover at that hotel. Simone becomes Peter's assistant. Peter then has his wife's funeral and immediately sets out to find the missing man. However, this was a trap and Peter and Simone are almost killed.
Not knowing where to turn to, the couple look into the other missing servicemen to get the answers.
The actions of the characters are beyond belief. How can a man bury a loved one and not have a period of mourning? Not only that but shortly thereafter, Simone is expressing her affection for Peter and he is accepting it. Improbable.
The suspense was well developed but Peter is not a likable character and although he has had the loss of his mother and then his wife, the reader feels no sorrow for him because he seems too uncaring.
The interesting thing about this novel is to see it in comparison to Morrell's later works and see his vast improvement as a writer.
Only recommended as a point of comparison.

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