The Tied Man by Tabitha Mc Gowen
I have to say I have owned this book since August last year and to my absolute shame I just never got round to reading it.
I realise now that I have missed out because this book, for me is one of the best books I have ever read, beyond any shadow of a doubt.
The central story is fabulous, so beautiful and touching but the periphery and circumstance is beyond imagination. The book takes every nightmare scenario you could ever imagine and brings it to life, it is exquisitely brutal and takes no prisoners – please be warned that this is not an easy read – it will take you to places that most would shy away from even on your bravest day but please suck it up and settle down for a journey to the dark side of life, love and human endurance.
The book is based around Lilith Bresson – the wild child of the art world, famous for her nudes and unorthodox methods, she is one ballsy broad who takes no shit from anyone and lets absolutely nothing stand in her way. Conned in to carrying out a commission piece of work, in order to supposedly save her father from the shame of scandal yet again. Lilith agrees to travel to Albermarle Hall and to paint a portrait of Blaine Albermarle.
Little does she know that Blaine is one very fucked up individual – she would give most incarcerated psychopaths a run for their money?
Once at the Hall, Lilith meets Blaine “companion”, Finn Strachan and he makes an impression immediately
“I had never met anyone quite like the willow-thin young man standing before me: Finn had the face of a fallen angel.
Wide, dissolute eyes the colour of moss agate gazed out from behind a long, thick fringe of muddy blond hair, and loose strands fell to frame a snub nose and sensuous cupid’s bow of a mouth that was just saved from being feminine by a square, stubborn jaw.
The very first time I met him, Finn Strachan stole my breath.
But nothing Blaine does is done without an ulterior motive and Lilith being on the island is absolutely no exception. Lilith quickly grasps that there is something amiss but her fate was sealed when the moment she stepped off the launch at the dock.
So with the gusto akin to a good murder mystery, the games at Albermarle began.
It takes no time for Lilith to determine that Finn is far from a companion – he is a commodity. One that Blaine puts to good use on an almost daily basis. He is her property and with the fear of unspeakable misfortune befalling his sisters in Dublin, he allows dispicable and degrading acts to be undertaken to him and I say to him because he is at no time a willing participant to any of it.
Blaine allows her guests – male and female to use and abuse Finn to fulfil their sick and perverse sexual fantasies and the abuse knows absolutely no boundaries. He is subjected to situations where lesser men would have failed to survive.
The description of some of these events is disturbing to read but all the more disturbing to accept that there is probably somewhere in the world this type of thing happening at this very minute – it was an eye opener for me and a none too comfortable one at that.
Blaine is a malicious bitch, in fact that is probably too good for her she is a vile excuse for a human being but every great story needs a truly reprehensible villain and she fills that role to perfection – along with Coyle who quite honestly didn’t deserve to deprive others on the planet of the air he was breathing a vicious, evil sadistic man!!
Despite all the depravity surrounding them, the relationship between Finn and Lilith is like a blanket around them both. They care for each other and that is not easy to do under the contact glare of Blaine and her psychotic subordinates.
Lilith is not high maintenance but she doesn’t let people into her life easily but Finn has found a key straight to her heart that has her willing to risk everything just to protect him.
Finn is an open welt of pain and sorrow – he has nothing left to hide from and nothing left to give – every ounce of his dignity has been stripped from him – he can’t hide the way he feels about Lilith – he has nothing to hide it behind.
The length they go to finally to win their freedom is staggering but only serves to show the level of predicament that they found themselves in.
There is a raw, potent darkness that underpins this novel that makes it not only a dramatic but ugly story to read. I am not saying that to put anyone off reading the book – quite the opposite – it is worth every uncomfortable minute you invest in the story and reading it is most definitely an investment because there is no way that you can encounter such pain and depravity even within the confines of fiction and not have it change your perception on the situations portrayed.
If you accept the world has its dark and bitter places then this novel will teach you more than you would have ever be able to fathom.
Some of the scenes depicted in this book are beyond the realms of your average BDSM novel but again that is not necessarily a bad thing but it certainly isn’t to everyone’s taste.
There were sections of the book that made me hang my head in shame at the depravity that is man and to gasp out load at the fact that although being told as fiction – we have the capacity to treat others in such a manner. I found myself feeling physically violated at some of the scenes that were being depicted – it was almost perverse to be reading about them such was the level of violence.
This is a novel that is not all pink and fluffy; it won’t hug you and kiss you good night or make you feel all warm and fuzzy.
It will grab you by the heart and make you listen to Finn’s story, it will make you see that there are bad people in this world who do abhorrent things just for the sheer shits and giggles of it – they don’t need a reason they just enjoy the misery they can impart to other.
And that realisation will make you a better person.
A tough, emotional read but one that I am thankful that I have finally gotten round too because it has opened my eyes and I thank Tabitha McGowan for that.
Rating 5 out of 5 ( NOT for everyone but a superb piece of writing)