"Fanatics" is a YA novel by Canadian author William Bell, set in the small Ontario town of Orillia. Young Garnet, having completed school and an apprenticeship to become a cabinet-maker, is searching for a rental space where he can set up his own wood-working shop, with the enthusiastic support of his parents and his girlfriend, Raphaella. When a friend directs him to the nearby mansion of a recently deceased relative, he is pleased to sign a 3-year rental agreement with the mansion's inhabitant Mrs. Stoppini, the former housekeeper and companion of the deceased. In this odd arrangement, he pays only one dollar for the rental of the former carriage house, ideal for his purposes, with the only requirements being that he restore the somewhat burned fireplace mantle and bookcases that were damaged in the library at the time of the unfortunate demise of the former owner, and that he inventory and catalogue the 4,000 or so books in the library in his spare time. But Garnet soon realizes that the library contains more than just books, and that the deceased's last work, a study of fanatical religious zealots including the 15th Century monk Savonarola, has raised the ire of paranormal forces, and he and Raphaella must find a way to combat them before they too suddenly find themselves deceased.... There's more to this book, including a modern-day terrorist plot being hatched in the region and the mounting of a musical play, "Merrie Olde Orillia," for which Raphaella serves as the stage manager, but all of the plot elements are neatly related to each other, and Bell's depiction of small-town Ontario rings true, although some of the supernatural elements are a bit over the top.Read more ›
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