My LibriVox recordings & my reading journal (solo Litblog).

The Gates notes; chapters 28 to 33 and my closing thoughts

The Gates

Chapter 28; In Which Nurd Makes a New Friend and Meets Some Old Acquaintances
Nurd is starting to realise the massive predicament his is in and he has the common sense to be more than a little afraid and quite concerned that he may end up being target practise.

only one being was inclined to go around summoning brigands and murderers from the grave, which suggested to Nurd that a personal appearance by the Great Malevolence was imminent.

As he quite rightly points out, being immortal means you can be punished & made to suffer for a heck of a long time! ’tis enough to give Nurd pause for thought and re-think his own plans to take over the Earth. After all, it does not bode well for a persons physical or mental well-being to start a fight doomed to failure. Best to just circumvent the issue if at all possible.

His plan, if you could call it that, was to find the portal and sneak back through it to Hell…

Nurd’s plan is quite a simple little affair, but with any luck he’ll be able to escape relatively unscathed. After all, no one wants an eternity of pain and suffering; unless they A) enjoy that kind of thing or B) are a bit short on active brain cells (i.e. rather stupid) – Nurd does not strike me as either.
A note about the phrase “done a runner”: for those not in the know, doing a runner is another way of saying “leaving in a hurry” or “running away” which is predominantly a British colloquial expression and is a very sensible option to those averse to pain or being beaten up; Nurd being one of them, who simply sneaks off when the policemen aren’t looking.
After making his escape, Nurd then divulges in a dip in a nearby pond to wash off the remnants of the horrid odour and somehow manages to make a friend. Interesting that Nurd is not the only gentledemon to have traversed the portal. Although why he decided to make a duckpond his headquarters is a little beyond me. The ducks don’t seem to mind too much though.

“What a nice chap,” said Nurd to himself. “If only all demons were like him.”

The “Scourge Of Five Deities” then encounters the aftermath of a few demonic appearances on his way to the portals entrance but nothing is described in so graphic a detail that it becomes unsuitable to the target audience.

…the demonic forces were not having an easy time of it.

In particular, the untimely end of the local butcher is mentioned more of a footnote than anything else. The events mentioned are tempered by the image of a florist bashing a few unfortunate demons with a large sunflower, having made the gruesome discovery that they were in fact allergic to pollen. The image of two-foot-high red demons sneezing all over the place then meeting their end, is somewhat disturbing and hilarious at the same time. Incidents such as this were happening all over Biddlecombe, most of the battles were still currently in the humans favour.
If The Great Malevolence crosses over into our world, then it’s Game Over and Nurd is well aware of this. The humans are doing pretty well so far but these are still only lesser demons. When the heavy hitters cross over we’re going to have a rough time of it. Nurd continues towards the portal, fear and guilt for Samuel growing, until he spies the two nasties heading for Samuel and it’s bad news for Nurd as well for those two demons serve a more powerful master.

…Ba’al, the Great Malevolence’s trusted lieutenant, the one who had condemned Nurd to eternal banishment…


Chapter 29; In Which Nurd Proves to Be Rather Decent, Actually
Nurd is spotted by Samuel, hiding near his house. Quivering and lurking.

“Well, I don’t really fancy asking this Nurd about his problems,” said Tom. “’Excuse me, Mister Demon, is ‘oo frightened? Is ‘oo having a bad day?’ I mean, he’s a demon. He’s supposed to be frightening us. It would have to be something pretty terrible to make a demon tremble…

Out of the mouth of babes.
Luckily Tom is wrong about “ickle” Nurd but not about the danger. At least all the major players are in the right place, and all the pieces of the jigsaw are now available.
Poor Nurd, he really has been through the grinder. Little wonder he’s a bit teary, anyone would be after all he’s been through. Funny how most British women still reckon that a decent cuppa can cure all ills.

Everything feels better after a cup of tea.

Pity it’s not true, it would save the NHS & the Government (UK) a fortune. In Nurd’s case a decent cup of tea and a digestive biccie is just what he needs to calm his nerves. So the details of The Plan have been imparted to the group again for Nurd’s benefit.

“Right,” said Nurd, when they had finished, “that sounds so foolhardy, dangerous, and completely impossible that it just might work. Now, all we need is a car.”

See what I mean about jigsaw puzzle pieces?
Mr. Connolly, the author, has been rather sneaky is wrapping things up. Everyone is so neatly where they should be for the End Game of the book, and Mr. Connolly has seemingly achieved this with the utmost of ease. Clever writing makes for interesting reading. Great stuff.

Chapter 30; In Which Mrs. Abernathy Loses the Battle, but Sets Out to Win the War

I got in her way. I don’t think she likes people crossing her.

Why are the heroes stood gaping at Ba’als servants? when they should be getting out of there? (to advance the story I suppose, to answer my own question) I guess they’ll get a move on soon enough, although I doubt Dr Planck is in any rush to stop quivering from beneath his newly acquired security blanket.

“Where are you going?” asked Tom.
“To steal my dad’s car,” said Samuel, and saw his mum smile.

It’s the beginning of the end!
It won’t be long now but I reckon there’s trouble on the horizon. What I can’t help but wonder is, will Gath & Shan play any role in their Plan? I have a small hope that they’ll blunder in, completely inebriated, and ruin not-Mrs. Abernathy’s plans to harm little Samuel.
Samuel’s dad will definitely be quite angry with the boy, but I can’t help thinking it serves Mr. Johnson right for not taking the car with him when he left. Nurd & Samuel share a friendly, tender moment while they debate about Porsches vs Aston Martins, Nurd’s driving abilities & The Plan. It all just serves to provide a stronger bond between the two, Samuel being Nurd’s first friend. Their goodbye’s are very sweet without being overly sickly or anything, this is a book for young adventurer’s and the last thing anyone wants is a yuck moment. Think about when the Grandson gags when kissing is mentioned at the beginning of The Princess Bride. There’s none of that, which is great (can you tell I’m not overly romantic?)
Now the young humans have just got to deal with

“Come on,” said Maria. “Let’s go and help the others. That will keep your mind off things.”   “I expect so,” said Samuel. “Being eaten by a spider or a toad will do that…

Samuel is facing his worst nightmare and is doing very well so far. Brave lad. Didn’t know the spider demons’ name before either, but it’s not exactly important (but it’s Chelom, in case you were wondering).

The plan gets off to a slightly shaky start but it’s just a small bump in the road. In Noart’s (the toad) case, a very painful bump.

…Serves you right for messing with my motor,” said Nurd. “You should have more respect…

Agreed, an Aston Martin deserves the respect of it’s pedigree. Terrible disgrace!

Oh Maria! What a clever young thing you are!
She’s been terribly helpful thus far, makes me like Samuel even more, as he has proven himself to be a very good judge of character. He has friends that have brains and nerve, best of all, they stand at his side.

Now for their part in “The Plan”.

Chapter 31; In Which Mrs. Abernathy Reveals Her True Colors
What an exciting chapter!
I’d like to give a blow by blow account, but that would be as bad reading the last chapter of a book to see what the ending is. Heresy!
I can say that not-Mrs Abernathy’s demonic identity is revealed, as is it’s appearance, rank in The Great Malevolence’s army and Nurd’s relationship to her/it.
Samuel proves his mettle, as does little Boswell & that they are both made of stern stuff. Neither of them backing down.
Gath & Shan make another appearance, albeit a fleeting one as they return home

…Two of them, oddly, were desperately trying to hold on to glasses of beer

Chapter 32; In Which Everyone Lives Happily Ever After, or So It Seems
The “or So It Seems” of the title is ominous. Remember the movie Flash Gordon? Sure Ming the Merciless gets skewered but then there’s that The End and added ? and coupled with maniacal laughter.
There’s a visit to CERN for the trio of children, future careers discussed involving science and cricket and Samuel’s teacher back at “Montague Rhodes James Secondary School” debating whether or not Samuel could see angels on the head of a pin.
All is right with the world.
Then there’s a message “from the other side


Chapter 33; In Which We Bid Farewell to Nurd. For Now.

After all, who would suspect Nurd, that most inept of demons, of being responsible for thwarting the Great Malevolence and his invading army…

Riding off into the Wasteland in an Aston Martin, with a new (somewhat) appreciation for his sidekick and a hope that he may meet his human friend again someday.
To Samuel!


Closing Thoughts
Yeeess, it took me a half a year to read this book when it shouldn’t have as it isn’t really a very thick book (the hardback being only 272 pages). But when I did find the time to pick it up and read, it was terrific. Writing about it without resorting to copying the entire book was more of a challenge (I’m not pretty enough for a courthouse, not to mention I’m almost always broke).
I’ve even read this in a dentist’s waiting room and found that I was giggling quietly. I tried to be as quiet as possible at the time, as there was no reason to give the impression I was on Nitrous Oxide, or that the Novocaine was having an adverse affect.
I do recommend this book to all ages of fun loving, relatively harmless idiots who want a fun romp of a young lad saving the universe. He’s no Captain Kirk but he’s young, give him time to get past puberty first. And yes, I am an idiot (& proud of it!) but I’m not stupid so don’t look at me like that.

There’s a lot to like about this book, I’ll be returning to this one at some point in my life purely because it is such a blast to read, just don’t expect this book to be life changing as it’s not about that.
Just enjoy the adventure. If you’re over 11 years old, think back to when life was simple and relatively uncomplicated (even if that was only 6 months ago). When the most difficult decisions to be made was to choose between Jammie Dodgers or Jaffa Cakes (or how to sneakily have both when no-one’s looking :-D), combined with the ever important question of which video-game to play first now that the chores are done.
Go and read this book during the summer or the Christmas holidays if you’re having difficulty remembering how fun & simple life can be. Don’t complicate matters with “I’m too old to read this” or “Teenagers don’t read books!” Both are complete nonsense and you shouldn’t deprive yourself of the love, care and hard work the author has put into crafting this lovely, funny and exciting novel.
Buy it or borrow it but you won’t regret reading it.


Author: raven

Anonymous ;-)

Comments are closed.