The Unhappy Medium focuses on Dr Newton Barlow. He appears to be a very successful physicist, but things take a turn for the worse as he loses his job, his wife and pretty much any hope. At his lowest, he is approached for some unusual work – to remove history’s worst characters from Purgatory. Barlow is successful, but when history’s most evil man comes back, Barlow is up against it.
It did take me quite a while to get into the book as there are a number of different back stories to begin with. As the novel progresses, they make sense and the links between the characters become clear. Barlow initially can’t believe the proposed job and there is plenty of humour as he tries to come to terms with everything that he has never believed in because he had no way of proving it. That’s not to say that’s the only injection of humour as it runs throughout the story. The characters are believable and clearly defined and there is some occasional action once Barlow gets into his unexpected role, especially when faced with the Cardinal.
Although it does take some time to get into, it is worth sticking with and is very enjoyable.
Rating (out of 5): ****