Review: SABBATH by Nick Mamatas—Sex, Violence, and Philosophy

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SABBATH | Nick Mamatas | A Tor Trade Hardcover | $ 27.95 | 304 pages

Though I’m uncertain super-scribe Mamatas would agree (given that he mentions in the acknowledgements of his latest novel that he should thank the “meatheads in heavy metal t-shirts” but he won’t), it is however this reviewer’s belief that all true and authentic metal is deeply entrenched in matters of philosophy. I’m thinking of the thunderous epics of Zeppelin and Maiden, real bone-crunching operas that shake fists at cruel fate and indifferent skies. Thus so with SABBATH, with its titular hero Hexen Sabbath, an 11th century warrior who questions nearly every jab of his weighty blade as he cuts a bloody swath through modern day Manhattan in his quest to “track down and kill the living personifications of the Seven Deadly Sins before they bring about Armageddon!” Whew! Sabbath is aided by an “Angel of the Lord” who niftily keeps our hero 21st-century savvy with instant mental downloads, as well as a way-cool illuminated tat of NYC streets that directs Sabbath to his prey. Along for the ride are two perky art scene lasses, Jennifer and Miriam who thankfully “keep things real” and offer not so dry commentary on the mayhem and gore. Mamatas treats this admittedly ludicrous scenario with a deft hand and never allows the material to slide into dreaded tongue-in-cheek, thank god. It’s a heady—and heavy—trip that gallops to blistering heights, and Mamatas pulls it off with a master’s technique. Four out of five stars.

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