Raven's Gate is a novel by Anthony Horowitz about a teenage boy named Matthew Freeman who dreamed his parents were going to die before they did. After their deaths, which he failed to prevent, he was sent to live with his abusive aunt and uncle and then became a petty thief, but a botched operation in which his "friend" almost killed a security guard sends him to two options: Jail or a government scheme called the LEAF project, wherein delinquints are sent to remote rural areas to recover. To his dismay, Matthew discovers all of the townspeople in his new town in Yorkshire are evil witches conspiring to release demons known as the Old Ones from their interdimensional prison.
- Well if you haven't heard of it, then it obviously doesn't exist!
- OK, Mr Cole. I can see I've wasted my time coming here.
- There's been a murder. A man named Tom Burgess. He's dead. I saw the body.
- You saw the dogs! Did you think they'd come from the Battersea Dog's Home?
- So maybe next time when I turn up floating face down in a river, maybe you'll decide it's worth investigating. And I'm telling you now, I won't have died from bad eyesight.
- (To Richard) So you don't believe in magic?
- (About Jayne Deverill) She had a picture of an ancestor. She said she got burned. Maybe she was burned as a witch... Anyway, if there were witches there four thousand years ago, why can't there be witches there now?
- (To his "friend" Kelvin when Kelvin stabs the security guard) I know that! But you didn't have to stab him! Do you realize what you've done? Do you realize what you are?
- (To Superintendent Stephen Mallory) You told me the LEAF project was voluntary. Well, I'm volunteering myself out. I don't care where you send me. You can lock me up in Alcatraz if you want to. But this place sucks and I want to go.
- (To Matt) There were some parts of your story... Well, I couldn't get them out of your head. So I went by to investigate.
- That's when I heard someone shouting for help and then I found you.
- You're just lucky I didn't stay for another pint.
- How oatthew? ...Do you watch a lot of TV?
- Well look... What you've just told me is complete... Crap! Lanes that go round in circles| Strange looks from the villagers! I know I said I wanted a story, Matt! But I didn't mean a fairy story!
- OK, yes. I've heard of Omega One. They built it as a sort of prototype... Before they started building the real things. But they shut it down before I was born. There's nothing there now. It's just an empty shell.
- But the police came and nothing was there and so, maybe, you imagined the whole thing.
- You seem like a nice enough kid, Matthew.
- (About Matt's trainers) Are you kidding? The washing machine hasn't been built that could handle all that muck!
- Nice dogs... Stay!
- I'm going to put them down.
- (Sarcastically, to Professor Dravid) Let me get this straight, Professor. A very long time ago, the world was ruled by evil creatures called the Old Ones. However, five kids appeared and threw them out. The kids erected a barrier, which became known as Raven's Gate. Unfortunately the stones that marked the gate were knocked down by Medieval peasants who didn't know any better. But that doesn't matter that much because the gate is still there after all. Is that about it?
- If I told you everything I'm about to tell you now, my reputation, everything I've worked for, would disappear overnight. It makes no sense. Not in the real world, anyway. Susan Ashwood may have seemed eccentric to you. You might have thought she was a fraud. However, I'm telling you she was right. There is another world. We are surrounded by it. There is an alternative history as alive in the streets of twenty-first century London as it was many thousands of years ago, when it all began. But only cranks and lunatics are meant to believe in it, because you see, that way everyone feels safer...
Raven's Gate is at the very heart of that alternative history. Search for it on the Internet, as you did, and you won't find anything. But that doesn't make it any less real. It is the reason you are here now. It may even be the reason you were born.
Sir Michael Marsh
- Do you really think it's so crazy to draw parallels between the power of the atom bomb and the power of black magic? Do you really think that a weapon capable of destroying cities in seconds and killing thousands of people is so far removed from the Devil's work? To me it was obvious. I saw that the two different powers could be bought together and do what they had never done before.
- Do you think that someone is trying to start up Omega One?
- (To Matt) Are you interested in phillumeny, young man?
- Richard Cole: (To Matt) What do you want?
- Matt: I need help
- Richard Cole: What sort of help?
- Matt:I'm trying to find out about something.
- Richard Cole: Why?
- Matt: It's a school project.
- Richard Cole: What school do you go to?
- Matt: (Taken aback) I go to school in Lesser Malling.
- Richard Cole: And you're doing a school project?
- Matt: Yes.
- Richard Cole: Try the library.
- Matt: I have. They sent me here.
- Richard Cole: Sorry, I can't help you. I was busy.
- Matt: You don't look very busy.
- Richard Cole: Well, I was busy until you arrived.
- Matt: Busy doing what?
- Richard Cole: Busy being busy. Alright?
- Matt: Look, maybe I can help you. You're a journalist. Maybe I've got a story?
- Richard Cole: A story?
- Matt: I might have.
- Richard Cole: Alright. Come upstairs. My name is Richard Cole.
- Matt: I'm Matt.
- Richard Cole: Just Matt?
- Matt: That's right.
- Richard Cole: You said you were staying at Lesser Malling.
- Matt: Yes. Do you know it?
- Richard Cole: I've been through. I'm meant to cover it. Me, Kate and Julia - They're the girls you saw downstairs - We've all got our own territories. I've got Lesser Malling. Lucky me!
- Sir Michael Marsh: You say there were electric lights at the power station? And the boy heard a humming noise?
- Richard Cole: Yes sir.
- Sir Michael Marsh: And he saw a lorry. Unloading some sort of box?
- Richard Cole: Yes.
- Sir Michael Marhs:And what conclusion have you drawn from all this, Mr Cole?
- Richard Cole: Matt couldn't see very much in the darkness, Sir Michael. But he said that the men were wearing strange, bulky clothes. I wondered if they might have been radiation suits.
- Sir Michael Marsh: You think that someone is trying to start up Omega One?
- Richard Cole: It is a possibility.
- Sir Michael Marsh: An impossibility, I'm afraid. (To Matt) How much do you know about nuclear power, young man?
- Matt: ...Not a lot.
- Sir Michael Marsh: Well, let me tell you a bit about it. I'm sure you don't want a physics lesson, but you have to understand. We'll start with the nuclear bomb. You know, of course, what that is.
- Matt: Yes.
- Sir Michael Marsh: A nuclear bomb contains devastating power. It can destroy an entire city, as it did, in the last war, at Hiroshima. In tests in the Nevada Desert, a small bomb blew out a crater so deep, you could have fitted the entire Empire State Building into it. The power of the bomb is the energy released in the explosion. And that energy comes from splitting the atom. Are you with me so far? A nuclear power station works in much the same way. It splits the atom in a metal called uranium but instead of producing an explosion, which is uncontrolled, the energy is released gradually, in the form of heat. The heat is fantastic. It turns water into steam, which then turns the turbines of an energy generator and out comes electricity. That's all a nuclear power station does. It turns water into electricity.
- Matt: What's wrong with coal?
- Sir Michael Marsh: Gas, oil, coal... They're too expensive. And one day they'll run out. But uranium is incredible stuff. One tiny piece of it, if you held it in your hand, has enough power to keep a million electric heaters running non-stop for twenty-four hours.
- Richard Cole: Except it would kill you... If you held it in your hand.
- Sir Michael Marsh: Yes, Mr Cole. The radiation would indeed kill you. Which is why, when uranium is moved, it is carried in heavy, lead-lined boxes.
- Matt: Like the box I saw!
- Sir Michael Marsh: (Ignoring Matt) At the heart of any nuclear power station is a nuclear reactor. The reactor is basically a massive concrete box - and it is in here that our controlled explosion takes place. The uranium is surrounded by long sticks called control rods. When you lift up the control rods, the explosion starts. And the higher you lift them, the more powerful the explosion becomes. The reactor is the most dangerous part of the station. You have to remember what happened at Chernobyl, in Russia. One mistake here and you risk what is known as an excursion, an explosion which might kill hundreds or even thousands of people and destroy a vast area of land for years. When the government began to think about building nuclear stations, about fifty years ago, they set up a number of experimental stations where they could study reactors in action and make sure they were safe. Omega One was the first of these experiments and I helped design and build it. It ran for less than eighteen months. And after we'd finished with it, we shut it down and left it to rot in the pine forest thaty surrounds it.
- Richard Cole: Maybe someone wants to get it running again.
- Sir Michael Marsh: They couldn't... For a number of reasons. As you know, you can't just buy uranium. Even dictators in countries like Iraq have found it impossible to get supplies. Let's suppose these villagers of yours owned a uranium mine. It still wouldn't help. How would they process th stuff? How would they get the technical know-how and the resources?
- Richard Cole: But Matt saw something...
- Sir Michael Marsh: He saw a box. For all we know, it could have contained a picnic. (Looks at his watch) I last visited Omega One twenty years ago. We removed anything that could possibly be dangerous when we dismantled the place. It was quite a job, I can tell you, transporting everything out of the wood.
- Richard Cole: Why did you build it there?
- Sir Michael Marsh: I'm sorry?
- Richard Cole: Why did you build it in the middle of a wood?
- Sir Michael Marsh: Well, it had to be somewhere out of the way. And there's an underground river that runs through the wood. That was the main reason. A nuclear power station requires a constant supply of water, you see.
- Richard Cole: I'm sorry, Sir Michael. It seems like we've wasted your time.
- Sir Michael Marsh: Not at all. At the very least it would seem like someone is trespassing on what is still government property and I shall certainly contact the appropriate authorities. Personally I wanted to knock the building down when we'd finished with it, but it was too expensive. As the minister put it, nature is the best demolition expert. However, let me assure you, you probably couldn't even spark a fire in that damp old place, let alone a nuclear explosion.