Book Review – GUY FAWKES: DEMON HUNTER (A Clangour of Bells) by Benjamin Langley

Review by Goat Leader

Hey kids! Usually, I leave the book reviews to Jolly Goat and Angry Goat, but I wanted to take on Indie Author Feature Week by myself, and this book is where I started. This is a non-spoiler review.

On Bonfire Night, an old man runs into the flames to recover an effigy of Guy Fawkes.

Why would he risk his life to defend the reputation of one of history’s most notorious figures?

It’s time to forget everything you think you know about Guy Fawkes!

Guy Fawkes: Demon Hunter combines the supernatural with history in a coming-of-age tale of loss, friendship, and revenge.

Now, the first thing I should tell you is that I wasn’t that excited to read this. My lack of enthusiasm was nothing to do with the author, who I like very much, or his writing. It’s just that I tend not to enjoy historical fiction, and in general, I actively avoid books with a title like this one. I’ve read Alice in Zombieland, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, and Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, and while I acknowledge the merit of these books and know they have a great audience, for whatever reason, they’re just not for me. I thought that GUY FAWKES: DEMON HUNTER would be similar.

Well, I’ve eaten those words along with a very large slice of humble pie.

The book opens in modern day, with Jamie Frost (great name, by the way) attending the UK’s annual Bonfire Night celebrations, in which – according to tradition – a bonfire is built and an effigy of Guy Fawkes is added to it, to burn. BURN I TELL YOU. The festivities are interrupted by an old man called Sidney who tries to rescue said effigy, almost burning himself to a sizzle before Jamie saves him. Sidney claims that Guy Fawkes is a misunderstood hero, and proceeds to tell Jamie why, which takes up the bulk of the book. We go back to the 1500s and thus begins the true tale.

The first note I made during the opening chapter was this: “Great writing – bloody hell, does Langley know how to paint a picture.” I could practically feel the smoke from that bonfire stinging my eyes.

Guy Fawkes is born with a supernatural gift, which he is made privy to by the ghost of a disembodied skull. I swear, though this book isn’t a comedy, its sense of humour had me in stitches at times. From here, the rest of this story follows Guy through his younger years, into early adulthood, and the trials and tribulations he must face on his valiant demon-hunting quest. I’m not going to explain much more of the plot going forward because I don’t want to risk spoilers, so instead I’ll be making note of its numerous merits.

In short, it’s a delightful, sometimes-disgusting, page-turning hoot. And by hoot, I don’t mean to say I laughed at every page, but boy did I turn every page quickly. I read it in one sitting and enjoyed it so much that as soon as I put it down, I picked up my next Benjamin Langley book (and proceeded to read that in one sitting also). The last time I remember chuckling this much whilst reading was when I discovered Adam Millard’s The Milk.

The story starts off strange but relatively calm, and then goes into balls-out chaos, and it continues along in a well-paced fashion with well-placed action scenes that keep the momentum going. And the violent scenes are really fun. You’ll find delights such as this: “The kidnapper’s body flew up and crashed into the ceiling, exploding. Blood rained from the body, covering the three boys as they fled across the room.” I mean, it can’t just be me that smiles with delight when I read things like that, right?

I care more about character than plot most of the time, and this book didn’t disappoint on that front. The characters are all relatable and fleshed out, they have in-jokes and well-established relationships, and feel real. However, the plot was also intriguing, unpredictable, and kept me hooked. The balance of mystery, creatively liberated history, and horror, is blended so beautifully. It’s one thing for a writer to have an imagination this great, but it’s quite another to be skilled enough to translate it this well to the reader.

I also really like the way that Langley uses the reader’s basic general knowledge of Guy Fawkes to set this all up as a series. In real life, we all know that he made an attempt to blow up the Houses of Parliament, and we know that Langley’s fictional take on history doesn”t subvert that aspect because of the (excellent) opening and closing present-day chapters that so neatly bookend the story. As we approach the end of this book, we know that the gunpowder plot isn’t coming in to play, and therefore, Guy’s story isn’t done. However, this first book is wrapped up so neatly that it works perfectly well as a stand-alone. It is a MAJOR pet peeve of mine when I read the first book in a series and the writer doesn’t tie up the plot because they’re hoping you’ll buy the next book to find out what happens. My dudes, if you don’t wrap things up in the first book, I won’t buy more from you because I won’t trust you to give me a satisfactory conclusion. Thankfully, Langley ties everything up here with a lovely neat bow, and his work is plenty good enough to have you reaching for the second one.

Two more things I’d like to mention – Happy Goat Horror fully approves of this description, “He was humanoid but with the legs of a goat.” Such majestic beauty, such unholy splendour. The other thing is this – Margaret is a badass.

GUY FAWKES: DEMON HUNTER – A CLANGOUR OF BELLS was an absolute pleasure to read and review, and I’d recommend it to a wide audience. It’s probably most appealing to people who enjoy their supernatural horror/action with a side of dark humour.

I loved it and I’m sincerely impressed.

If you’ve already read this awesome book, may I humbly ask you to leave a review online? Book sales aside, there’s nothing more valuable to indie writers and publishers than reviews – a few seconds of your time makes a much bigger difference to an author than you’d imagine. A one line review, hell, even just a one word review goes a long way.

If you haven’t yet read it and you’d like to grab your own copy (and really, why wouldn’t you? – it’d make an especially fabulous November read!), you can find it here:


If you’d like to learn more about Benjamin Langley and his work, you can find him on social media, and through the link to his website below:


If you’d like to check out Shadow Spark Publishing, who released this epic tale, you can find them here:


2 responses to “Book Review – GUY FAWKES: DEMON HUNTER (A Clangour of Bells) by Benjamin Langley”

  1. Wow what a review, and I so agree with every word Goat Leader says. I also read Guy Fawkes: Demon Hunter in one sitting it is a captivating story and very well written. Can’t wait for the second and third Ben Langley get writing.


    1. We can’t wait for the second one!


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