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Last Days
Cover of Last Days
Last Days
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Last Days (winner of the British Fantasy Award for Best Horror Novel of the Year) by Adam Nevill is a Blair Witch style novel in which a documentary film-maker undertakes the investigation of a dangerous cult—with creepy consequences



When guerrilla documentary maker, Kyle Freeman, is asked to shoot a film on the notorious cult known as the Temple of the Last Days, it appears his prayers have been answered. The cult became a worldwide phenomenon in 1975 when there was a massacre including the death of its infamous leader, Sister Katherine. Kyle's brief is to explore the paranormal myths surrounding an organization that became a testament to paranoia, murderous rage, and occult rituals. The shoot's locations take him to the cult's first temple in London, an abandoned farm in France, and a derelict copper mine in the Arizonan desert where The Temple of the Last Days met its bloody end. But when he interviews those involved in the case, those who haven't broken silence in decades, a series of uncanny events plague the shoots. Troubling out-of-body experiences, nocturnal visitations, the sudden demise of their interviewees and the discovery of ghastly artifacts in their room make Kyle question what exactly it is the cult managed to awaken - and what is its interest in him?


Last Days (winner of the British Fantasy Award for Best Horror Novel of the Year) by Adam Nevill is a Blair Witch style novel in which a documentary film-maker undertakes the investigation of a dangerous cult—with creepy consequences



When guerrilla documentary maker, Kyle Freeman, is asked to shoot a film on the notorious cult known as the Temple of the Last Days, it appears his prayers have been answered. The cult became a worldwide phenomenon in 1975 when there was a massacre including the death of its infamous leader, Sister Katherine. Kyle's brief is to explore the paranormal myths surrounding an organization that became a testament to paranoia, murderous rage, and occult rituals. The shoot's locations take him to the cult's first temple in London, an abandoned farm in France, and a derelict copper mine in the Arizonan desert where The Temple of the Last Days met its bloody end. But when he interviews those involved in the case, those who haven't broken silence in decades, a series of uncanny events plague the shoots. Troubling out-of-body experiences, nocturnal visitations, the sudden demise of their interviewees and the discovery of ghastly artifacts in their room make Kyle question what exactly it is the cult managed to awaken - and what is its interest in him?


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  • Copyright © 2012 by Adam Nevill. All rights reserved.

    Last Days

    THE PROCESS

    'An epic story of inhuman savagery'


    Irvine Levine, Last Days

    ONE

    BLOOMSBURY, LONDON. 30 MAY 2011

    'Have you ever heard of Sister Katherine and The Temple of the Last Days?'

    The smile vanished from Maximillian Solomon's eyes when he asked the question; a sign of self-seriousness, or a sudden scrutiny of Kyle's fitness for disclosure; something Kyle noticed about mind, body and spirit types who spoke about their interests with strangers. Ufologists and mediums were the same.

    But even though Solomon's eyes hardened, the small tanned face of the CEO of Revelation Productions retained its default setting of being vaguely amused. With Kyle. Or maybe with everyone in the world except himself. The permanent half-smile was either convivial or mocking. It was hard to tell which with these people: the successful, the owners of things, the commissioners and controllers he'd dealt with as a film-maker.

    'Yes,' Kyle said, and then his mind snatched at what he did know about Sister Katherine and The Temple of the Last Days. Fragments resembling instamatic polaroid photos: sun-bleached flashes of a scruffy, bearded man in handcuffs, walking from a police car and into a municipal building;aerial footage of what might have been a ranch or a farm in ... California? Snippets of imagery from something about the cult he'd seen on telly a long time ago. A documentary, or was it news footage?

    He wasn't sure of the source of the impressions, but they were glimpses of things that suggested a notoriety that had evolved into the noir and the cultish. He knew that much; the group was perceived these days as dangerous and cool. A US Indie band called itself Sister Katherine in the eighties; some industrial band called itself The Temple of the Last Days in the next decade. And of course, he'd recognize the iconic portrait of Sister Katherine anywhere without knowing much about her life; it had been Andy Warholed on to T-shirts in Camden Market, alongside images of Jim Jones and Charles Manson, Michael Myers and Jason Voorhees. A plump, heavily made-up face, its expression beatific, haloed by a purple nun's habit as her eyes searched the heavens. Mother Mary meets Revlon. An evil female cult leader reduced to sick joke gimmickry, lurid nostalgia, and bespoke infamy for disaffected youth. A woman who was killed by ... or did she commit suicide with her followers in America? He couldn't remember, but he knew the Temple had murdered people. Or was it each other? A film star? No, that was Manson's family. Same era because the Temple was a hippy death cult in the sixties. Or was it the seventies? 'The cult,' he said and tried not to look clueless. Too late, his eyes had gone vague and he'd frowned with confusion throughout his hazy recall.

    Max seemed pleased with his ignorance. It would enable him to expound. 'An organization that began right here in London, in 1967.'

    'London?'

    'Yes. In this city. Few are aware of that. But Sister Katherine was British. Her real name was Hermione Tirrill. She was born in Kent. Came from the remnants of a wealthy family. Her mother even had a title. She was a Baroness, and made sure little Katherine knew she was better than everyone. As did the boarding schools where she was educated until she was fourteen, when her father left his bankrupt family. And little Kathy and her mother were forced into the ignominy of poverty. She came down hard from a pile in the country to a council flat in Margate. Had to slum it in a second-hand school uniform. Down there with the rest of them. Must have been devastating for her, this plump little overachiever with funny teeth, while she watched her former peers...

About the Author-
  • Adam L. G. Nevill was born in Birmingham, England, in 1969, and grew up in England and New Zealand. A graduate of the University of St Andrews Masters programme, he is the author of The Ritual and Banquet for the Damned, an original novel of supernatural horror inspired by M. R. James and the great tradition of the British weird tale. In his working life he has endured a variety of occupations, including from 2000 to 2004 both nightwatchman and day porter in the exclusive apartment buildings of west London.
Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    December 3, 2012
    Nevill (The Ritual) pulls out all the stops in this audacious literary take on metafictional horror films like The Blair Witch Project. British filmmaker Kyle Freeman is on his last financial legs when he’s offered a deal that sounds too good to be true: £100,000 to help Max Solomon, publisher of the hot self-help book of the moment, make a documentary about a cult. In 1975, nine people were found dead at the headquarters of the Temple of the Last Days in an abandoned mine in Arizona. Among the corpses was Sister Katherine, the founder of the temple, beheaded at her own request. Freeman, who’s given a tight schedule to complete the project, soon gets the feeling that supernatural forces are at work—and that his producer has been less than forthcoming. Fans of films about haunted places, otherworldly beings, and rituals gone terribly wrong will find this homage deliciously chilling.

  • Kirkus

    December 1, 2012
    Something wicked this way comes in Nevill's (The Ritual, 2012, etc.) modern horror tale. Kyle Freeman is a respected but deep-in-debt London-based documentary filmmaker. Contacted by Max Solomon, a prosperous New-Age publisher, Freeman's asked to make a film about The Temple of the Last Days, a 1960-1970s hippie-era cult that is an autocratic semireligious lifestyle stew of everything from Scientology to Buddhism, at least until it culminated in mass murder in Arizona. Solomon has prearranged travel and script, and he pressures Freeman to agree immediately. The fact the fee is 100,000 makes quick acquiescence easy. The fact that Solomon himself originated the cult's predecessor group, The Last Gathering, is kept secret. Solomon meant well, only wanting to "create one small pocket of cooperation and decency." That lasted until Sister Katherine assumed leadership. Katherine, sociopathic daughter of a down-and-out aristocrat, had spent time in prison for running a brothel. Freeman, along with cameraman Dan, travels to sites of the cult's activity, from Clarendon Road to Normandy to Arizona and back to London, meeting warped witnesses to the paranormal. At each site, Freeman himself experiences apparitions and manifestations, enough to provoke hallucinogenic nightmares. Only after Freeman visits Antwerp and examines an ancient triptych painted by Niclaes Verhulst does he comprehend that the skeletal demons who have manifested through walls intent on mayhem--demons that he has experienced at each site and at his apartment--can be traced to the Blood Friends, ghosts of followers of an Anabaptist heretic, Konrad Lorche, leader of a 16th-century religious commune. After Lorche declared himself God's one king and fed a French bishop to a pig, he and his followers were besieged, captured, and burned alive or beheaded--only to linger in some hellish purgatory to await remanifestation. Neville's writing is deft and believable. Tension abounds, right up to a long, bloody denouement at Sister Katherine's luxurious California mansion, where the Blood Friends await rejuvenation. Obsession and megalomania, sex and power make for a sophisticated, literate and well-crafted paranormal horror.

    COPYRIGHT(2012) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Library Journal

    Starred review from January 1, 2013

    Nevill's (The Ritual) latest horror masterpiece follows two guerilla documentary filmmakers in their quest to create a groundbreaking piece of cinema. The Temple of the Last Days cult will forever live in infamy. Led by the disturbed and powerful Sister Katherine, the cult flourished in Europe and the United States in the late 1960s and early 1970s. In 1975 Sister Katherine was found decapitated among the bodies of her followers in a heinous mass suicide. But is Sister Katherine really gone from this earth? Kyle and Dan are determined to expose the cult's cabalistic side on film, but as they talk to those involved in the case and their documentary footage unfolds, the filmmakers encounter supernatural phenomena that endanger their lives. VERDICT This exceptional macabre tale stuns in its ability to inspire abject, primal terror. Readers will lose all hope of undisturbed, peaceful sleep. Highly recommended.--Amy M. Davis, Parmley Billings Lib., MT

    Copyright 2013 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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