First published back in June of 1983, prolific pulp horror master Guy N Smith’s fourth and final (to date at least) full-length instalment into the Sabat series was entitled Sabat 4: The Druid Connection.

DLS Synopsis:
As the young curate Reverend Philip Owen makes his way across the gradually decaying grounds of St Monica’s church on a bitterly cold night, he is confronted by a ghostly horde of vile looking apparitions.  The haggard figures slowly circle him, trapping him within their numbers.  And then the judgement is enacted.  Found guilty of sacrilege and treachery against the old gods, the Oke Priests sentence the reverend to death.  And the execution will begin immediately.  Death within the burning confines of an age old Wicker Man.

Vicar Cleehopes is quickly brought in to perform an exorcism.  But the great druid history that surrounds the land that is now St Monica’s is too powerful for him.  The Oke Priests take their revenge on this sacrilege once again; sending the vicar into babbling insanity.

The call is soon made to the one man who can get to the bottom of the death that is befalling St Monica’s.  Mark Sabat is summoned.  But there has been much underhanded corruption around the land that surrounds St Monica’s.  Land that was left in trust to the church to maintain and protect.  Land that Bishop Boyce is now selling to a local builder to develop upon.  Land that was once home to the druids.

Sabat must confront the old spirits that haunt the grounds and unearth the foulness that has been spurned by greed.  Torn between his duties to protect and to see absolute justice, Sabat’s strength will once again be put to the ultimate test.  The great old gods are angry and demand vengeance.  And together with his old SAS friend turned reporter Kent, Mark Sabat must put a stop to the madness that haunts St Monica’s…

DLS Review:
Once again, the much loved character of Mark Sabat is flung head first into the thick of another delightfully pulpy storyline.  Smith begins with setting down a masterfully described scene of eerie horror, with the author’s usual straight-to-the-point writing style kicking off the novel with an instantly captivating first chapter.

Smith’s obvious influence from Robin Hardy’s classic movie ‘The Wicker Man’ (1973) fills the first action packed scene.  A no-holds-barred approach of relishing in the gory descriptions is lavished onto the horror-hungry reader.

From here on we are subjected to an excellent piece of classic Guy N Smith horror fiction.  The tale remains at a constant adrenaline pumping pace throughout, throwing in scene after scene of gloriously over-the-top horror action for Sabat to fight against.

The usual injection of sleazy sex takes a front seat to the developing storyline, with Sabat’s time-honoured libido given a good workout at every opportunity.  Indeed, the multiple sordid love interests (in the loosest sense of the word) take on quite a substantial role in the proceeding plot.  This just adds to the colourfully packed nature of the whole storyline.

Indeed, within the confines of such a short novel (somewhat standard for a GNS tale), Smith really crams in as much as he possibly can here.  With a crazy mishmash of meandering leads all powering along the one main thrust of the tale, Smith manages to maintain a completely and utterly enthralling storyline that guarantees to produce the goods on almost every page.

The ending is as ingeniously surreal as it is magnificently fitting.  Not a sentence goes by where you don’t feel completely immersed in the sheer pulpy quality of it.  And the ending is certainly no exception here.  Delivered with the impact of an undeniable master of 80’s pulp, the tale comes to a head with the atmosphere and excitement that befittingly concludes the Sabat series to near perfection.

This is certainly not one that you want to let miss you by.  It’s got it all in there…and in bucket loads.  Just sit back and enjoy some classic Guy N Smith, doing what he does best.  Genius!

The novel runs for a total of 148 pages.

© DLS Reviews

Other ‘Sabat’ instalments:

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