Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Satan's Rock by Marilyn Ross [1966]

A scanned photo (by someone else; found this via Google Images) of the cover.

Based on certain comments I've encountered, quite a few folks shy away from "Marilyn" Ross novels for one reason or another. Well DON'T shy away from this one!

It's my 1st Ross novel and it was a BLAST. It was GoThic to a T.

Supernatural elements. Mysterious and unexpected deaths. Menacing and malicious human machinations. Twists and turns. Fog, rain, gloom.

It's 1900 on Elm Island, a tiny island in the Atlantic Ocean a few miles from the Nova Scotia coast. Lucy Ashton is the 22-year-old hieress to "Satan's Rock": A vast and haunted castle-like mansion (built up by her paternal grandfather) on the site named for the intrepid and cruel pirate who founded the original fortress there: Black Satan.

He left supposed treasure chests filled with gold and jewels buried somewhere on Elm Island, and likely within the maze of confusing and treacherous tunnels beneath the original fortress called "Satan's Rock." Before abandoning the island and his treasure, Black Satan allegedly pronounced a curse on all who would try to find his treasure.

Despite the curse, dozens of fortune hunters have come to the island on aggressive digging expeditions. All have met with disaster and death.

Lucy's family -- the Ashtons -- have refused to seek the treasure. They believe because of this they've been kept safe.

Now Lucy's father is deceased. Her mother, Cynthia, has remarried a hateful and hard-drinking man named Theodore Hastings. When the latest expedition to find Black Satan's gold meets in the certain untimely deaths, Edward Roper returns from Halifax, Nova Scotia. He and Lucy are in love. And soon their love becomes strained as Edward makes a life-altering decision which puts him at odds with Lucy's nasty stepfather, Theodore Hastings.

Trouble and heartache abound.

And in the midst of all this comes Simon Crowe. Aside from Lucy, he is *the* most interesting character in the novel imo. I was particularly curious to see where he fit into the story...and I wasn't disappointed.

Loved this novel. It was fast-paced and very suspenseful and chock full of genuine Gothic aura.

The cast of characters as I visualized them:

Lucy Ashton: Wynona Ryder [age 22]
Cynthia Ashton-Hastings: Barbara Hershey [age 51]
Theodore Hastings: Jack Cassidy [age 49]
Edward Roper: Ewan MacGregor [age 23]
William Roper: Walter Barnes [age 55]
Jacob Greer: John Malkovich [age 42]
Simon Crowe: He's beyond portrayal by a human actor, lol.

No comments: