First published back in October of 1985, Gordon McGill’s novel ‘Omen V: Abomination’ formed the fifth and final instalment into the Omen series.

DLS Synopsis:
The war that had been dubbed Armageddon had come and gone.  Now all that remained of the entire Middle East was a desolate and uninhabitable nuclear wasteland.  Radiation clouds drifting westwards, causing radical climate changes as the pollution spreads.

Waking from the traumatic shock that he endured three nights ago, he makes his way back to the ruined Parish Church of St John.  Inside the remains of the old church he finds the mound of dead flesh and fur that had once served him, lying at the feet of a crucifix.  The dead dog a reminder of their defeat.

He makes his way through the church spotting the skeletal figure laid down upon the stone altar.  The seven daggers of Meggido scattered within the bones.  He knows what he must do.  After taking the skull from the mortal remains of Damien Thorn, he begins his task.  He digs a fresh grave outside the church, burning the crucifix above the open earth trench.  And then, as part of the blasphemous ritual, he slits open the swollen belly of the dead dog, releasing a unborn pup that claws its way out into the open grave.  In the midst of death there is life.

But he is not alone.  Watching from amongst the nearby undergrowth the boy remains hidden from view until the ritual is over and the man has gone on his way.  Only then does he emerge from his hiding place, crawling over to the pup and then on to the church.  With the daggers of Meggido in hand, the boy returns to the smouldering crucifix, driving the daggers into the spine and hands of the figure of Christ. Then he runs off to the house.  The spirit of Damien Thorn reborn in him.

Years later, seventy-one-year-old Paul Buher has been waiting for his death to come.  Since he found Christ, Buher had spent much time reflecting back at a lifetime wasted.  And now he was full of regret.  Deep regret that led him to record his final confession on tape and post it off to Father De Carlo in Subiaco, Italy.  For Bruher knew only too well of the boy’s abilities.  And the boy knew what was on Bruher’s mind.  He was sure of it.

However Father De Carlo had died the day after Armageddon broke out.  Thankfully Buher’s tapes were not sent in vein.  For after hearing the tapes, the monk, Brother Francis, knew his second calling had come.  He had already faced the power and wrath of the Antichrist when Father De Carlo had been alerted to his presence all those years ago.  But the mission had ultimately proven to be unsuccessful.  So now, here he was travelling back to London to stand up to the dark beast once again.

Back in London, the boy was now seventeen years old.  He had taken his father’s name according to his will.  And now the young Damien Thorn had taken on the chairmanship of the Thorn Corporation, whilst William Jeffries moved over to become the Vice President of the Thorn operation world-wide.

But Damien hungered for one thing and one thing only.  He did not seek power or dominance.  He saw only vengeance and destruction in his future.  He longed for nothing more than to reap his revenge on mankind.  A thousand years of pain and suffering as one day.

Meanwhile, fifty-year-old Jack Mason, who had been described as the best writer of his generation and who already had two Pulitzers under his belt, had decided to write about the most closed-off and difficult to infiltrate family in their modern-day world.  The Thorn’s were a marvel in themselves.  Rich, powerful and ever in the public eye.  The Thorn’s would undoubtedly make for the most incredible read, possibly of his career.

But what Mason would soon uncover when he starts digging around the dirt of the Thorn family would challenge his skills as an investigative writer to the limit.  His understanding at the true significance of what was happening would be put to the test.  What Jack Mason was about to be faced with could ultimately be something that would mean the destruction of mankind.  But first he would need to accept what was emerging before him.  And only when he truly believes, will he be able to try to take action before it’s too late…

DLS Review:
So here we have the final instalment into the whole Omen saga.  The fifth book which potentially offers up final closure on the Anti-Christ’s return.  And following on from McGill’s previous instalment with the delightfully pulpish ‘Omen IV: Armageddon 2000’ (1982), it would certainly be reasonable to hope for a similarly demonically-entertaining read.  Alas, with ‘Omen V: The Abomination’ such high hopes are quickly shattered.

The backdrop for the tale has all the potential and qualities for a darn good final instalment, with it finally ending the Anti-Christ’s plans to bring down humanity.  Edging towards being almost post-apocalyptic, with such a large amount of the world’s land now desolate wasteland, in the novel’s setting alone there is an unbelievable potential to really crank up the anger and Satanic threat a good few notches.  After all, what better place to have the last battle between the Anti-Christ and mankind than in a world that’s gradually dying anyway?

Sadly, at absolutely no stage during the tale does McGill really embrace the opportunities available to him for such a monumental final battle.  The uninhabitable nuclear wasteland that is now the Middle East is only really touched upon as if in passing during the initial chapters.  Nothing really comes out from these brief references to this ravaged and desolate side of the planet.  It’s as if McGill had an idea for something truly catastrophic, and then gave up on it after setting down the initial groundwork.  And what a shame that is!

What we have instead is a plot that skips around in the usual Omen territory; throwing in blasphemous Satanic rituals in a vague attempt to keep the reader’s interest.  Interestingly, most of the principal characters from the previous novels, such as Father De Carlo and Paul Buher are killed off.  Replacing De Carlo as the principal protagonist we have the determined and incredibly capable character of Jack Mason.  And Mason does add an interesting new energy to the series – with his gritty hardheaded attitude.  Unfortunately, Mason is barely fleshed-out at all, leaving behind just a weak idea of a character, with no conflicting traits to add any additional interest to the novel.  And it’s this in particular that really lets the tale down.  Without our lead protagonist making much of a connection with the reader, the tale simply bumbles along as if played out from afar.

Furthermore, dramatic deaths are somewhat sparse in the first half of the tale; with McGill injecting very little in the way of nasty-action other than a spot of blasphemous frolicking here and there.  Admittedly, in the second half of the tale, the grim intensity that’s been lurking behind the storyline begins to pick up; and we’re treated to some of the usual ‘Omen’ style fun and games that we’ve come to expect.  Nevertheless, this doesn’t really save what has by this stage become quite a mundane and borderline-boring read.

It’s a somewhat unfortunate note to end the ‘Omen’ series on, especially considering the excellent intensity and demonic-energy of the first few books.  But it is what it is.  And by this stage it has to be said that the strength of the Omen threat was perhaps beginning to dwindle.  So, without pushing the boat out with a sudden change in direction, the lukewarm reception of just another paint-by-numbers Omen-esque storyline was probably inevitable.

The novel runs for a total of 189 pages.

 © DLS Reviews

Other ‘Omen’ instalments:

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