First published back in November of 1982, prolific pulp horror author Guy N Smith’s third instalment into his popular ‘Sabat’ series was entitled ‘Sabat 3: Cannibal Cult’.  The release also coincided with the publication of the fourth part of the series entitled 'Sabat 4: The Druid Connection' (1982).

DLS Synopsis:
Finally the time has come for the trial and execution by guillotine of the infamous devil worshipper, notorious murderer, ritualistic cannibal and Grand Master of the Left Hand Path, who had been appropriately dubbed
The Beast of France’ – Louis Nevillon.  Supposedly a descendant of Silvain Nevillon who was burned for witchcraft at Orleans in 1614, it was widely believed that Louis Nevillon was more than just a descendant – he was in fact a reincarnation of the truly evil black magician. 

Before his head is finally decapitated from his body, Nevillon mocks the priest residing over the execution with his final words “On the third day I shall rise again.  I shall live and you will fear my coming”.  Hours later, the body and head of Louis Nevillon disappear from the execution chamber.

After barely surviving from a sudden bout of pneumonia, whilst his strength was at an all-time low, Mark Sabat awakens in a hospital bed to discover that Quentin’s soul has taken advantage of the opportunity and taken possession of Sabat’s body.  Now as the weaker of the two souls within the flesh of his body, Mark Sabat can only watch as Quentin fully takes over his physical self.  Soon enough, Sabat is ordered by the doctor to take a long convalescence somewhere in order to fully recoup. 

Sabat travels to Interlaken in Switzerland, where he books into the Jungfrau Hotel.  Whilst there he meets up with a beautiful young woman who introduces herself as Madeleine Gaufridi.  She informs Sabat that she is running from her family, her religion, and the French police (the Sûreté) after losing her faith at the convent where her parents had placed her – the Aix-en-Provence.

With women being his one true weakness, Sabat instantly offers to help and protect the young girl.  After their relationship progresses to a more physical level, Madeleine asks Sabat to keep watch over the secluded wooden chalet in which they are now staying.  And sure enough, that very night, Sabat confronts and kills a private detective who he catches sneaking up on the chalet where Madeleine is sleeping.  Now a possible murder suspect, Sabat and Madeleine flee to a hippy commune where the commune’s leader, Andre Schmid, cooks up a feast containing human flesh.   Unknowingly, Sabat consumes the strange tasting meat.

Not before long, Madeline Gaufridi reveals herself as being the reincarnation of Madeleine de Demandolx de la Palud – a victim of demonic possession in Aix-en-Provence in 1609.  And now, with the anniversary of the tortuous death of the man responsible for her corruption, Satanic Father Louis Gaufridi, approaching on Walpurgisnacht, Madeline, together with the help of Andre Schmid’s cannibal cult, plans to bring the corpse of her beloved Louis Nevillon back to life on that very night - Walpurgisnacht!

Sabat, now under the full influence of his evil brother Quentin Sabat, who it emerges is himself a blood-lusting cannibal, is forced to help Madeline and the cult in their murderous orgies, cannibalistic rituals and black ceremonies, in order to bring back Louis Nevillon through the consumption of his flesh.  However, they soon discover that Louis Nevillon's evil is much more powerful than they had imagined.  Fully under the control of Madeline, Sabat finds himself helpless to stop the reincarnation of this Grand Master of the Left Hand Path.  All he can do is watch as he is forced to perform their murderous and lustful biddings...

DLS Review:
With the character of Mark Sabat now fully established from the previous two instalments, Guy N Smith launches the reader headfirst into the complexities of Sabat’s dual possession.  Pushing Quentin to the surface of the character, the storyline takes on a whole new dimension; with this strangely ‘outside-of-the-body’ semi-narration setting the unfolding plot off at a disorientating new angle.  No longer can the reader think of ‘Sabat’ as being principally Mark Sabat, with the soul of his evil brother locked away in his flesh.  Instead Quentin now drives the flesh, and Mark Sabat is left to watch as Quentin takes to his naturally evil path.

As intriguing as the concept is, alas the novel does fall short a little here.  From our previous encounters with Quentin, we have learnt that he is/was possibly the evilest Grand Master of the Left Hand Path to ever exist.  However, now he has possession of Mark Sabat’s body, he seems less than competent to fulfil even the simplest murderous tasks.  Sadly, it seems that his true evil is never really given the air it requires to take full advantage of this new possession.

Knee-deep in a variety of twists and turns of the plot, the tale is thoroughly gripping throughout, with an engaging fast pace that appears to almost spiral out of control at many points.   The characters are classic ‘Smith’ types, each with their own little back stories woven into the rich fabric of the storyline.

Predominantly set around cannibalistic rituals and the related orgies which are performed to fulfil the cult’s evil deeds, the storyline builds towards the grande finale of Walpurgisnacht, whereby Louis Nevillon is to become reincarnated.  The finale is sudden and gritty, taking to a whole new setting for the final confrontation, which after such a build-up, is sadly over a little too quickly.

As a whole ‘Sabat 3: Cannibal Cult’ is an energetic and elaborate addition to the Sabat series, setting down a fast-paced and action-packed storyline to grip and enthral the reader from the outset until the gritty and sadistic conclusion.

The novel runs for a total of 154 pages.

© DLS Reviews

Other ‘Sabat’ instalments:

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