Gemma Files’ We Will All Go Down Together is a sprawling, multi-generational epic, stretching from Scottish Witch Trials, to modern day Toronto. It follows the rising and falling fortunes and deadly feuds among the Five-Family Coven—the Glouwers, Rusks, Devizes, Druirs, and Rokes. The novel is composed of 10 interconnected short stories some of which were previously published.
There is a sprawling cast of characters as generations of the families interact, sometimes across time. There are witches and magicians, psychics and changeling, and one demon-slaughtering nun. Carraclough Devize, a psychically scarred former child medium is the through line of the novel. After a childhood encounter with a terrible haunted house, Carra has spent her life desperately trying to recover, trying hedonistic black magic amongst other remedies. Now she spends her life in self-imposed exile in a mental hospital, emerging on occasion to help the very psychic research society that used her as a child. Carra’s fumbling, yet wise, emotional journey helps tie the various plotlines together.
Files has a gift for creating worlds and magic with a hint of wild and ancient dangers. There is a sense of depth in this novel that stretches even beyond the Jacobean Witch Trials that form the chronological starting point. Files has woven a tapestry of dark wonders and twisted magic out of folklore and fairy stories. There is little kindness in the world of wonders Files has created, nor should there be.
We Will All Go Down Together pulled me into its world almost immediately. This is an interconnected novel that requires the reader’s attention, and rewards it. It was an engrossing and enchanting read; nevertheless, the sheer number of characters and families was occasionally daunting. I’m looking forward to reading Gemma Files’ other novels.
**Received copy from the Author for Review
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