Thought I’d have more to say, but really, there’s not much more to say than that this is about as close to my idea of a perfect book as there is in existence.
But I’m guessing you knew that already 🙂
I’ve enjoyed doing this, though – may have to find something similar to play with sometime…
And so it ends, with surprising twists and revelations and a loud crashing noise.
Every single surviving character – even Bubo, Quicklime and the experiment man – has a part to play, and it’s not until the very last page that we know how it ends.
So here it is: exactly what’s going to happen (in outline, at least) on All Hallows Eve, the stakes and naturally, the sheer unpredictability of it.
It also appears that the Great Detective may have been right about Larry Talbot, which isn’t good news for anyone except the Vicar.
Finally! The Great Detective makes his move, and oh, it’s such a good one.
One can only hope that Snuff’s instincts are sound (and also, I suppose, that Snuff is actually a hero, rather than a protagonist, given that old Sherlock is always on the side of right).
Snuff finally figures out the correct location, and not a moment too soon. And finally, the whole Game is laid out for us, and those nasty suspicions concerning a certain Mythos are confirmed.
But the part of this chapter I love is the throwaway reference to the time the Game was played and no one got the location right – so on Halloween, all the players sat down together and feasted, and made a joke of it before going their individual ways. This is the sort of thing that makes me love Zelazny so much – his willingness and ability to blend horror and humour has few rivals (and all the ones I can think of are also dead, mores the pity).
While Snuff was off consorting with strange wolves, events continue apace. The Good Doctor’s place burns to the ground, and Snuff and Gray go to investigate.
Bubo tells them something that makes a whole lot of sense: he and the Good Doctor were never in the Game at all. Bubo made up the whole thing to get a little respect from the other companion animals. Which means that not only was there no secret player messing up the divinations, but the mess was actually caused by wrongly including the Good Doctor.
Oh, and the Good Doctor’s creation got away, which is nice. I liked him.
A slow day, but Snuff encounters a mysterious wolf who knows his name – and possibly tells the wolf more than he should.
Another surprising development, as Owen and Cheeter exit the Game – Owen fatally and Cheeter willingly. So now the Openers are also down one, restoring the balance by weakening both sides equally.
Cheeter’s tale of woe and how Snuff and Gray help him escape from it, and it’s oddly touching, partaking as it does of the generosity of dogs, the ruthlessness of cats and the carefee-ness of squirrels.
Not actually much advancing the plot here, surprisingly enough for a fairly long chapter. Jack and Snuff experience a setback, but not too great a one. More interesting is the revelation that Snuff can only speak human between Midnight and 1 AM – the witching hour, of course.
Plus, of course, Jack and Jill seem to be getting friendlier all the time – which can’t be too good an idea with the big conclusion bearing down like a freight train and them on opposing sides…
Another long, busy day. The most notable event is the death of Rastov, and Quicklime’s resulting defection from the Game. This weakens the side of the Closers, now that they are one down.
Also, the Vicar seems to be increasingly active and increasingly dangerous, for all that he is clumsy and unsubtle. And at the same time the friendship between Gray and Snuff, and Jack and Crazy Jane, seems to be growing ever deeper – and yet, it is doomed, as they all know they will be on opposing sides come Halloween…
Another big one, although the real news is hidden away at the start – that Graymalkin and Crazy Jill are Openers. The factions are starting to come to light at last..
Also, roll up for the magical mystery tour, as Gray and Snuff run headlong through the Dreamlands first described by H.P. Lovecraft. Interestingly, both cats and dogs appear to be led by elders of their respective species who dwell in the Dreamland.
Finally, one last phrase that is both excellent latin and dog latin. Sort of 🙂
Another long one, with three major points to it: first, the Great Detective is Great, but not infallible. He gets so into his violin playing that he briefly betrays his hidden identity in this chapter, although only Snuff seems to notice.
Second, it seems that Rastov and Quicklime are on the same side as Jack and Snuff, so the factions are becoming a little clearer.
Third, and most shockingly, it no longer matters what side the Count is on, as he won’t be turning up to fight for it now. I guess this means that Needle is homeless now…
A big one, this, and a lot of information to parse.
First of all, absolute confirmation that the Vicar is playing the Game too. And based on his late entry, he’s none too good at it.
Then there’s a little covering for Talbot by Snuff, as well as a variety of other tidbits – not to mention the Good Doctor and his creation taking centre stage for a brief but memorable cameo.
Oh, and how could I forget a little hint-dropping by Graymalkin as to what side she and her mistress are on?