Tuesday, 28 March 2017

REVIEW: The Crimson Mask 1: A Shadow Has Fallen by Chris Leach

Serial fiction has a long and noble history, with novels and sequential adventures once released in installments in newspapers, magazines and novelettes. Nowadays, new fiction is released in episodes on a variety of websites and apps, keeping the tradition alive.

The Crimson Mask is a new adventure serial in a vintage style that suits the serial format down to a tee. Chris Leach has released his first installment in this story, "A Shadow Has Fallen," for download via Payhip. The Crimson Mask is a mystery adventure that takes place in an alternative 19th century. Twenty years since the assassination of Queen Victoria and the Great Fire of Westminster, dark days are coming for the Empire and an insidious organisation known as the Shadow seeks to take control of London. Only an equally secretive organisation, the Foundation, can hope to stop them.

To say any more would spoil this first chapter, which sets up the story's central mystery and introduces the central members of the Foundation. Over only 5000 words Leach crafts a tight little adventure that creates an intriguing backdrop for the rest of the story. He's obviously having great fun playing in his pseudo-Victorian world and that comes through in his easy, enjoyable prose.

I'm looking forward to reading further chapters of The Crimson Mask, although the timescale for the next episode isn't clear. Until then, I recommend that you give the story a try by downloading this first chapter. It's only 49p, which is good value for money in anyone's ebook.


  1. Sadly, Christopher Leach has now passed away. He was still a young man, leaving behind a wife and three young children. All proceeds from the book go towards supporting his family. I bought it for my school library, and I urge others to buy the book for the rip-roaring yarn that it is.

    1. I was very saddened to hear about Chris's passing following his illness. I didn't know him very well, although I have been friends with his wife for a long time, but he always struck me as a kind and decent man. I'm pleased that he was able to publish his book before he died - I do have a copy and will be posting on it soon, and I encourage everyone reading this to buy a copy.