The Chosen Seed (The Dog-Faced Gods book 3 of 3) by Sarah Pinborough (book review).

Cass Jones has been framed for murder again and is on the run from both the police and Mr. Bright’s Network. Help comes from unexpected places and it is old enemies who now have the power to aid Cass as he hunts for Luke and tries to bring down the Network. Meanwhile, Hask and Ramsey have problems of their own. Someone is spreading an even deadlier form of the Strain II virus through the London population and there seems to be no way to stop it. As Armstrong hunts for Cass who hunts for a way to save the world, Hask and Ramsey hunt the Angel of Death. Their investigations will collide and the fate of the world hangs in the balance.

‘The Chosen Seed’ is the third and final instalment in Sarah Pinborough’s ‘The Dog-Faced Gods’ trilogy. Cass Jones might finally find his missing nephew and lay his brother’s ghost to rest, but only if he can win his battle against the sinister and mysterious forces that seem to have taken an interest in him.


I am in two minds about this book. On the one hand, I really enjoyed the police side of things. Hask and Ramsey put up a good show as the tireless coppers hunting down the latest serial killer, who just happens to be one of the members of the Network. As they finally start to tie up loose ends and discover that Mr. Bright and Mr. Craven aren’t entirely human, they’re drawn into Cass’ troubles and the ways in which the two stories merge was really well-written. Armstrong, too, has a really good part to play in this. He’s the one who just doesn’t believe a man could be set up for murder twice and is determined to bring Cass to justice. We know he is wrong but can’t help admiring his doggedness when things don’t go his way, we really feel for him. He’s a good man caught up in a bad situation. The setting is also very convincing, with the fear and panic caused by this deadly outbreak really coming across clearly.

On the other hand, the supernatural plot got far too biblical for my tastes. There are lots of allusions to the ever-present ‘Him’ and ‘They’, plenty of reference to angels and fallen beings and it seems like the end of days might just be on the cards, too. I felt a bit cheated, especially after I’d enjoyed ‘The Shadow Of The Soul’ so much. It seemed like Pinborough took the easy way out. Although I know the biblical references were there from quite early on, I’d still hoped it wouldn’t turn out to be quite so obvious. I’m sure many readers will appreciate the way the story has so clearly led us to the inevitable end point, I just prefer to be at least a little bit surprised.

In fairness, there was a lot that I liked in this book, not just the policemen and their dogged investigations. The two characters that help Cass out the most, a slightly crazed doctor and a face from Cass’ past that I’ll not reveal here, were really well done and I loved their bits. Mr. Bright was another highlight, with new sides to his personality constantly being revealed. I’ll also freely admit that the epilogue made me smile, even if it was predictable, I found that I didn’t mind in this instance. I just can’t quite get over the disappointment that the supernatural side of things got a bit too religious in a very predictable way. It made me sigh.

‘The Dog-Faced Gods’ trilogy certainly had its ups and downs, with the highlight of the series really being book two, ‘The Shadow Of The Soul’. This final episode, ‘The Chosen Seed’, tied up all the loose ends nicely and brought the series to a clear end. The police investigations and characters in general were very good and if the supernatural side of things was a little obvious there are still many things to recommend this book. I’d certainly be interested in reading more of Pinborough’s work because I’ve seen flashes of brilliance mixed in with the disappointments.

Vinca Russell

March 2013

(pub: Gollancz. 375 page enlarged paperback. Price: £14.99 (UK only). ISBN: 978-0-575-08954-9)

check out websites: http://www.orionbooks.co.uk/ and www.sarahpinborough.com

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