by Michael Leon and Chrissie Anthony

Phantoms is an adult fiction that tells the story of Erik Destler, a latter day Phantom of the Opera. Erik sets out to take over and rule the Palais Garnier with La Divina – Carlotta Caccini, as his queen, but at each turn, is seemingly thwarted by his nemesis – the original Phantom of the Opera, now the Opera Ghost. Phantoms is set in that same famous Paris opera house, amidst the staging of Guiseppi Verdi’s opera, Macbeth, one hundred years on from the first appearance of Le Fantôme de l\’Opéra in 1910.

The water gently lapped on the man-made shore, dampening the mirror black of Erik\’s infantry boots, the only flaw in his freshly pressed military outfit. Dressed in jet black formal uniform with only his cape of royal blue providing a splash of colour, he gazed out on to his private lake. He tenderly held a bouquet of fresh cardinal roses and studied his reflection. It took Erik back to a past life, so far removed from his present, that he wondered if it really had happened. He smiled cynically. It could have been his wedding day.

Rose\’s enchanting smile haunted him. He turned to look behind, certain he saw her standing in the shadows of the gothic pillars that surrounded his subterranean water world. Rose faded from his mind, before he studied the bouquet he fastidiously prepared. Then he remembered there would be no wedding this day. Not any day. He dropped the bouquet on to the tightly bound woman he cradled in his left arm. She was peaceful now, free from the terror that had been inflicted on her.

\”This is for Rose. You will not be forgotten, my love.\”

Erik caressed the face of his victim before taking her rope-entwined torso in his powerful arms to stand up on the water’s edge. He peered out to the middle of the lake and watched the current of the man-made cistern suck the murky water to its centre. The current was at its most powerful as he tested its flow. The bouquet drifted quickly to the focal point before disappearing from Erik\’s sight. Water was his world now. Strange that the creator of life could just as easily extinguish it.

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This story presented an intense experience. Not being overly familiar with the finer details of The Phantom of the Opera, I felt as though there were subtle things in here that I didn’t quite understand. That said, knowing the Phantom of the Opera story is not required to enjoy this book as its own reading experience.

Overall, I liked this story. The opera and the rivals of performance come across very well. I enjoy books with a backdrop in performance. On the flip side, I had a tough time pinning down some details about the story. The setting and dialogue felt very historical. Then, every so often, a character would pull out a cell phone or state-of-the-art video security equipment would be mentioned, and I’d be thrown for a loop to recall this story wasn’t taking place in the eighteen hundreds. The authors have a strong atmospheric quality to their writing. Whether on stage or in the bowels of the underground lair, I felt engulfed by my surroundings.

I felt drawn through the story toward the ending. Once there, though, a few things just didn’t sit well with me. Some of the characters’ choices seemed off, and I had a very difficult time with Erik’s ending. I would definitely recommend this to people who don’t mind a lot of darkness. I also think Phantom of the Opera fans would find this unputdownable.


Michael Leon is a science fiction/fantasy writer with three published novels, Cubeball, Emissary and Phantoms. Besides those, Michael has written Extinction and Adaption and is currently writing Emissary and Phantoms: Act 2, both novels to be released in 2018. His work ranges from speculative fiction to fantasy romance. Michael Leon\’s work has been labelled by reviewers as speculative fiction with a thriller element. For more information, go to Michael\’s website:

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Chrissie Anthony is the romantic alter ego of Melbourne writer, editor, and publisher, Christine Lister. After a successful career in education, Christine started writing and editing. Her books are The Hidden Journey – Melanoma Up Close And Personal, Tahlia You Can Do It! and In the Garden of my Delights. Chrissie’s books are Quiver – Awakening the Goddess Within and How Do I Love Thee?

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