Halloween is the perfect time to curl up with a copy of F. E. Higgins's, The Eyeball Collector. The polyquel to The Black Book of Secrets and The Bone Magician. If you're wondering what a polyquel is, it's a world that describes Higgins's series, meaning that it contains elements from all three stories, as well as mysteries all of its own.
The Eyeball Collector seems a perfect title for this time of year, what with Hallowe’en just around the corner. And the eponymous character, Baron Bovrik de Vandolin, would make a perfect Hallowee’n dress-up character. This treacherous one-eyed Baron is a self-serving master of deception with some very odd habits. As a writer, I keep lists of character traits and mannerisms in my office, and Baron Bovrik has been given more than his fair share of the peculiar ones.
For some unknown reason, I get a great deal of pleasure from creating and writing about my villains; no book is complete without one. Jeremiah Ratchet, the evil landlord in The Black Book of Secrets, was particularly repulsive with his sweaty, bulbous face and bad breath, but then along came Deodonatus Snoad, the malformed unfortunate in The Bone Magician. But in The Eyeball Collector, I think I have managed to assemble the weirdest, most villainous cast yet!
The setting of The Eyeball Collector would also be the perfect place to hold a Hallowe’en party. Although the story starts on the mean streets of Urbs Umida, the vilest city in existence, the action soon moves to Withypitts Hall, a gloomy, sinister Gothic mansion far away from civilisation. When Hector (the main boy character in the book) first sees Withypitts Hall in the middle of a violent storm, he describes it as “a vast jagged silhouette stretching across a broad mountainous outcrop like a gathering of crouching devils.”
Within Withypitts’ walls live Lord and Lady Mandible (Lady Mandible could certainly give Bovrik a run for his money in the villain stakes), a rather dysfunctional pair of peers if ever there was one! Lady Mandible has filled the hall with all sorts of revolting oddities and has at her beck and call a loyal manservant called Gerulphus. Lady Mandible charges Hector with the task of breeding hundreds of butterflies for her Mid-Winter Feast. But no one could possibly guess why she wants them . . . .
I’d better stop there before I give too much away. Speaking of the servant Gerulphus, I have just finished writing my fourth book, tentatively titled The Lunatics’ Curse, and I am pleased to say that Gerulphus plays a big part in the story. I found him an intriguing character and I wanted to know more, so in The Lunatic’s Curse, I delved into the past and uncovered a few more secrets about him and the eerie world in which he lived.
Happy haunting to you all!
F. E. Higgins
If you'd like to purchase The Eyeball Collector, it's available at your local bookstore or here: