The Covenant Within

Written by R.A.R. Clouston
Review by Helen Hart

Charismatic American CEO Jack Sinclair is plagued by nightmares. He seems to be re-living past lives, and when his long-lost brother commits suicide, Jack is taken on a terrifying journey into altered states and genetic memory. In Scotland he is joined by psychiatrist Dr Kenna Roberston and together they explore the theory of genetic memory. Events take a sinister turn, and hired assassins seem to crowd in on Jack from all sides as he learns of his family’s involvement long ago in the aftermath of Christ’s crucifixion.

For the most part this novel is entertaining and exciting with a narrative that leaps energetically from first-century Jerusalem to the modern day, via Viking times and the seventeenth century. There are passages of delightful descriptive writing and author R.A.R. Clouston has clearly done extensive research to create an interesting and original central device. If self-published work is to be taken seriously, editing and proofreading is vital—something Clouston clearly understands because the punctuation is of a high standard. There are a few small issues with ‘head-hopping’ (the switching of viewpoints within a scene), which can be distracting; readers want to emotionally engage with a single viewpoint character at any one time rather than see what everyone in the room is thinking. In general the book is fairly well-presented, although the chapter headings could have been more elegant and the heavy drop capitals are unnecessary. The running headers clutter the page and aren’t necessary with fiction—they seem to be popular in the US but are not so favoured here in the UK. All in all, a good book with a plot that makes up for any minor deficiencies in presentation.