First published back in April of 2018, ‘The Silenced’ formed the fourth novel from British author Stephen Lloyd Jones.

DLS Synopsis:
On the first floor of her Clapham townhouse, in a matter of a handful of gut-pounding seconds, Mallory Grace’s world had irrevocably changed.  The house she’d found sanctuary these last few years, was her home no longer.  She’d killed a man.  Stabbed him in the neck and watched as he bled out in a fountain of red.

Despite killing the intruder, Mallory knew it wasn’t over.  Not by a long stretch.  It was just the beginning.  Now she had to get out of the house.  There was no time to collect together any of her treasured possessions.  No time to formulate a plan.  The Vasi knew she was there.  After all those years, she had been tracked down.  Found.

Deep down in her gut, she knew how they’d found her.  All because of one night.  One small mistake and it was all over.  She was pregnant.  It had to be that.  She’d take a test, but inside she knew the truth already.  Pregnant.  That was how they’d found her.  That was the only way.

Mallory had been warned what would happen if she ever fell pregnant.  She’d been told to expect a violent death if the Vasi ever caught her.  That they would show no mercy; they would take her life and the one growing inside her.  That was now what it meant to be Arayici.

The father was unaware of the hell they’d unwittingly unleashed upon themselves.  A few miles north of Sennen Cove, near the tip of Land’s End, twenty-year-old Obadiah Macintosh sat alone, whiling away the hours in the Penwith Animal Sanctuary.  He’d chosen to live in Cornwall’s most sparsely populated peninsula for good reason.  He needed to be away from people.  As much as he enjoyed company, he couldn’t stand to be near other people for any amount of time.  Their thoughts weighed heavy on him.  Crowded his mind.  Bombarded his senses.

Now the Vasi were after them both.  So many times Ayiah Incesu had imagined using her Cossack dagger on the one they now hunted, thrusting it into the girl’s womb and destroying her ability to create chaos.  Ayiah’s determination to wipe out the Arayici had put her in second-in-command to the Vasi principal.  She despised humanity, hated what mankind had become.  But she was different from the rest of the Vasi.  Ayiah was an Arayici herself.  It was what gave her the ability to locate the Arayici when they became pregnant.  When they coupled with the Kusurlu.

Now the Vasi were closing in on Mallory.  Another Arayici to slaughter.  Another critical blow for the human race.  It was this that drove them on.  Humanity had taken too many wrong turns to be righted.  They’d forfeited their right to exist.  The Vasi’s priority now was a mass cleansing.

The Vasi knew when an Arayici and a Kusurlu come together, the resulting child would have the potential to change the world.  It had happened throughout history.  All of humanity’s great developments had been the result of such a union.  But for as long as the Arayici and the Kusurlu had existed, the Vasi had been trying to destroy them.  In the Vasi’s eyes, humanity was God’s perfect creation.  Something to be protected from outside interference.  Anyone with the potential to alter it unduly – or otherwise affect its course – was viewed as a corrupting influence, a threat.  They convinced themselves that the only solution to the Arayici-Kusurlu corruption was a modern-day Noah’s Flood scenario, a grand reset.  Wipe out the entire human race and give God – or nature – the opportunity to start again.

Now it was only a matter of time before the Vasi managed to unleash Armageddon.  That is, unless some miraculous Arayici-Kusurlu intervention prevents it.

Humanities continuation finds itself in the hands of just a few.  Constantly on the run, always looking over their shoulders, in the hope of bringing about the next fundamental step in humankinds existence.  But the Vasi won’t stop at anything to bring an end to it.  They dream of a world without humankind’s presence.

After violence, silence…

DLS Review:
This my friends, is one hell of a read.  A monumental journey through a heart-wrenching, adrenaline-pumping, absolute roller-coaster of a novel.  Following the success of his previous novel ‘The Disciple’ (2016), Stephen Lloyd Jones has returned with a tale that squares in on what is quickly emerging to be the author’s absolute strengths in storytelling.  The end result is this near-epic offering.  A tale that almost pulses with a heart-in-mouth urgency from the very first page, all the way to the bitter finale.

Essentially what you have with ‘The Silenced’ is a tale that follows two individuals - Mallory Grace and Obadiah Macintosh, as they desperately try to evade an extremely well organised global death cult known as ‘The Vasi’.  A cult whose resources seem to be almost limitless.  And they’re utterly relentless in their pursuit of any Arayici left alive.

Jones tells the story by gradually unveiling the jigsaw pieces which make up the elaborate picture forming the backbone of the entire tale.  Rather than merely throwing down the backstory and cluing the reader in from the start, it’s more a case of charging ahead with the adrenaline-pumping action, whilst scattering nuggets of information that will eventually begin to form a fuller picture.

The overall result is a story that’s not only incredibly gripping, but one that keeps you questioning.  It keeps you desperately wanting to know more.  To slot together the pieces of the puzzle to understand how it all comes together.  And trust me – it all does.  Jones doesn’t leave any loose threads.  Instead we have a brilliantly tight and furiously-paced read that feels magnificently rewarding when everything starts to slot into place.

Indeed, the pacing of the tale is nothing short of spectacular.  Despite its relatively hefty page count, it’s hard to put the book down.  There’s always something churning away.  Some threat or unrelenting danger chomping at your heels.

But it’s not all about the neck-breaking pacing and high-octane action sequences.  Fundamentally this is still a character-driven tale.  The two vastly different characters of Mallory Grace and Obadiah Macintosh, their plight, their interaction and eventual bonding make the novel the undoubted success that it is.  It’s as heart-wrenching as it is utterly captivating.  But it doesn’t end there.  Throw in the tear-jerkingly loyal companionship of the near-feral rescue dog Yoda, along with the warped hatred and misguided determination of Vasi hunter Aylah Incesu, and you’ve got an expanding cast of intrinsically fleshed-out characters.

Jones’ skill at portraying raw emotions, at painting a complex picture of the characters’ feelings, their drive to go on, their hopes, loves and fears – it’s quite frankly nothing short of breath-taking.  By the end of the tale you’ll feel like you know each character intimately.  You’ll feel their hurt, their hope, their need to just keep struggling on, so very intimately.

This is nothing short of a magnificent tale that takes you on one hell of a gut-wrenching journey.

“We think we know the world.  And really, we know nothing at all” - Obadiah Macintosh

The novel runs for a total of 433 pages.

© DLS Reviews



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