by Glen Dakin
ISBN: 978 1 4052 46767
Egmont (March 2010-02-22)
• Sam Hawksmoor review
In a novel treading the same grounds as Marcus Sedgwick’s 'Book of Dead Days' - the Gothic horror, the dank and dark sewers, children held prisoner by strange and weird adults and you have the recipe for Candle Man.
Of course children are never as cynical. They enjoy one vampire book, for example and seem to want to devour the rest, no matter who is writing them. Glen Dakin has written Candle Man first in a planned triology knowing that kids like dark and gothic and strange and some will never have even heard of Marcus Sedgwick. (More’s the pity).
Theo has been held prisoner by a weird bunch of adults for most of his life. Mr Nicely the butler, Clarice the maid, and Dr Saint, Head of the Society of Good Works are the only people he has ever known in his short life. They live in a weird mansion near a cemetery and Theo is allowed outside once a year on his birthday. He has to wear special gloves at all times because he has a rare skin condition that requires daily treatment.
This birthday he finds a present has been left for him outside in the graveyard, the first one not given to him by his guardians. He keeps this secret to open when he is not under observation.
Every night Theo is strapped into a radiation machine called the Mercy Tube which keeps what ails him under control and makes him very weak. He hates this life but knows no other and has nothing to compare it with, though would love to know of the outside world.