In a weird way I was dreading this book. I’m not a huge fan of historical fiction, especially if it takes place in the middle ages/enlightenment era. However, Hawksmoor is a different kettle of fish and incorporates many other literary genres.
The novel is based on the six churches that Nicholas Hawksmoor (here renamed Dyer) built. The thing is Dyer is part of a Satanic cult and is building churches for human sacrifice.
The even numbered chapters takes place in 1980’s London, where there are a series of murders taking place within the six churches and Nicholas Hawksmoor, a detective, has to uncover the mystery. Unfortunately the past is entwined with the present and it leads to certain startling discoveries.
Part detective story , part historical fiction, Hawksmoor is a very gripping novel. Also people who are fans of groups such as Current 93 and other World Serpent artists should check this book out as a lot of their philosophies are incorporated. Truly fascinating. A word of warning though, in order to be authentic Ackroyd uses the vernacular used in the 18th century and it pays to do some research on London during this period (and maybe a bit on pagan rites). Other than Eco, I don’t think I’ve read a meta historical novel that’s this good.