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Rupert Thomson: The Book of Revelation

More from Thomson about being trapped and the futile attempt to escape from the trap. The unnamed hero is an English dancer, working in Amsterdam and living with a French dancer, Brigitte. One day he goes out to buy some cigarettes for Brigitte (do dancers smoke? Well, maybe French ones). He is accosted by three hooded women who stick a hypodermic in him and kidnap him. When he wakes up he is chained to a floor. The three women, who have admired his dancer’s body, proceed to use him sexually (on some occasions with other participants). However, they remain hooded so he never sees their faces. But they are frequently naked (except for the hood) so he does see their bodies and their minor blemishes. After eighteen days, inexplicably, they let him go. He returns to Brigitte, who assumes that he has been with another woman. He tells no-one of his ordeal but Brigitte who refuses to believe him. Soon afterwards he inherits a legacy, leaves Amsterdam and Brigitte and travels around the world on the hippie trail.

After three years, he returns to Amsterdam and soon starts working in a bar. However, he is now determined to find the three women who kidnapped. He works out that they must be nurses (because of the hypodermic) so he frequents hospitals (becoming a hospital visitor). He also sleeps with every woman who looks like one of the three, if only to look for the blemishes. Only when he meets a black woman is he able to have a normal relationship, as it clearly could not be her. However, it all goes terribly wrong when he meets a woman in a club who he is determined is one of the women, She rebuffs him so he follows her to the bathroom, attacks her and rips off her clothes. It is not her but he is arrested.

As in his other novels, there is a nasty undertone to this book and a less than satisfactory conclusion but Thomson tells a good and riveting story and leaves us, at the end, wondering and worrying. In short, we are all trapped.

Publishing history

First published 1997 by Bloomsbury