Friday, August 02, 2013
The Curse of Rathlaw
Chapman also mentioned that Martin had been involved in the creation of The Guardians, a series of six books about a team of paranormal investigators written in the late 1960s. More digging turned up the fact that Thomas Martin had authored one of the series, THE CURSE OF RATHLAW. Beyond that, Martin had probably helped come up with the series characters and basic concepts. A clue is that two of the Guardians are Gideon Cross and Anne Ashby. The occult specialist who assists Sexton Blake in SORCERERS OF SET is named Gideon Ashley. Rather close.
Anyway, THE CURSE OF RATHLAW concerns a couple of Scottish brothers, Fergus and Cosmo Trayle, who share supernatural powers. After being humiliated by Sir Alistair Rathlaw over a woman, Fergus casts a curse over the Rathlaw family. At first Sir Alistair and his son Donald dismiss the curse, but when the prophecies that Fergus made about future events begin to come to pass, Sir Alistair begins to fear for his son's life and contacts the Guardians for help. Martin seemed to know his stuff, both about occult rituals and Scottish legends. I was impressed with Martin's writing in SORCERERS OF SET and I like it here as well. The book has the feel of a crime novel mixed with the supernatural and we know this is a favorite genre of mine. I know a lot of folks think that paranormal crime is a genre of recent vintage, but trust me, it's not. The Guardians has much in common with Simon R. Green's Ghost Finders series and I think modern readers would enjoy THE CURSE OF RATHLAW.
According to various internet sources, Rathlaw is the only Guardians book by Martin. The other five were written by other writers, but all were published under the house name of Peter Saxon. The Saxon byline was also used on a ton of other supernatural books. The American editions of The Guardian books mostly have nifty Jeff Jones covers and as a result can be fairly collectible, but most of them can be had at reasonable prices and still turn up in used bookstores. The series is as follows:
Dark Ways to Death (1968)
Through the Dark Curtain (1968)
The Curse of Rathlaw (1968)
The Killing Bone (1969)
The Haunting of Alan Mais (1969)
The Vampires of Finistere (1970)