In The Crowfield Curse, young William and his friends and allies righted a long-ago wrong at Crowfield Abbey and faced down the terrifying Unseelie King. But now another evil is rising at the abbey — one that has even the Unseelie King running scared.
The Crowfield Demon is even better and spookier than The Crowfield Curse. I didn’t realize how familiar the abbey had begun to feel after one relatively short book; when the structure begins to fail, it’s like a shattering of the world, albeit a small, circumscribed world. Pat Walsh builds the suspense well. Creepy, inexplicable art in the church; mysterious artifacts found beneath the stones; foul odors; unsettling dreams; hidden documents from the past — all of these add up to a great mystery. William, Shadlok, Brother Snail, and Brother Walter must piece together what’s going on and how to stop it, before things get even worse at Crowfield.
William continues to shine as a protagonist. How much do I love this kid? He’s so brave, and so good at heart. He’s been through some terrible things, and most of the monks seem to value him more for his strong shoulders than for his innate worth. One of the best aspects of The Crowfield Demon is William’s dawning realization that, while he has lost his family, he is beginning to build a new one with his dear friends and is no longer alone in the world. It’s so gratifying to see his life get a little warmer.
I don’t know how many books are planned in the CROWFIELD ABBEY series, but I hope there will be more. Pat Walsh ties together history and folklore to create a terrific fantasy/horror setting, and brings it to life with well-drawn characters, both the admirable and the venal. I recommend these books to younger and older readers alike.