In the final book in James Reese’s Herculine trilogy, the title character roams the Florida territories, the Keys and Havana, using her witchery and curious body attributes with both tender and compelling skill.
Set in the 1840s, Herculine is first called to Havana by her mentor Sebastiana; however, she is deceived by Queverdo Bru’, an alchemist, snake-like, brooding and vile. Escaping Bru’ with the aid of her lover (?) Calixto, yet not unharmed, the forerunner of a clever plot twist that is essentially revealed on the jacket, Herculine realizes an unimaginable reunion with Sebastiana, resulting in a most startling “treasure.”
Reese, who ran into a sea of confused eloquence with his previous effort, The Book of Spirits, is back in sparkling form with The Witchery. He is a master at crafting his character’s backstories and inserting them flawlessly into historical events, e.g., Indian attacks in the Florida Keys. His characters are fully realized. Bru’, who easily could have been simply corrupt, instead transfixes the reader with his flawed, slithery, seriously twisted being. They exist, they breathe, they love, and they are acutely damaged. They are a tumultuous joy to read.
The Witchery is an evocative, hold-your-breath, fitting finale to this trilogy.