An anthology of horror stories set in medieval times, Howls From The Dark Ages is that one book that needs to be bought and kept on your shelf permanently if you are a fan of the genre. From the mesmerizing cover image to the foreword written by Christopher Buelhman, the story unfolds in a peculiar fashion inviting the readers to walk thru a collection of artifacts in the museum. Amazingly well done, the image of the artifact and its short introduction is more than enough to scare the living daylights out of anyone, my imaginative mind playing havoc with the galloping heart.
Like Howls From Hell, the first anthology from Howl Society Press, this anthology offers something for everyone who loves horror; fairy tales and fantasy; ghosts and witches; monsters and demons; the priests and knights; all 18 stories make for some addictive reading. As expected from the era Howls From the Dark Ages is set in, most of the stories are focused on the church and Christianity and the themes of priests, knights, and a general sense of doom and gloom.
1. “The Crowing” by Caleb Stephens- A fantastic opening short story with a fantasy element of witches and otherlings, NOW this is a story that I wished was a full-length novel by itself coz of the beautiful imagery of the woods and the darkness and cruelty of the witches that was conveyed with some brilliant creepy writing.
2. “Angelus” by Philippa Evans – A story that explores the dark side of magic and religion.
3. “Palette” by J.L. Kiefer- The author has done a terrific job in this horror story capturing the need to look perfect and with the kind of dyes and chemicals that should never be used for personal experimentation.
4. “Brother Cornelius” by Peter Ong Cook – The only story in this anthology that had a bit of lighter moments what with the confusion of identity between the monks Kevin and Ronald, and the ancient horror that has to be contained.
5. “In Thrall to This Good Earth” by Hailey Piper – I loved the theme of hunting for ghosts in the forest and the price to be paid for its discovery; the mystery element of the story wraps up this brilliant narrative.
6. “In Every Drop” by Lindsey Ragsdale – A harrowing story that tore me to pieces depicting a mother’s intense love amidst a drought in the village.
7. “Deus Vult” by Ethan Yoder – A knight, the horrors of war, and a medieval castle that hides its true intentions, I felt a little out of depth with the ending of the story.
8. “The Final Book of Sainte Foy’s Miracles” by M.E. Bronstein – Another favorite of mine in this anthology with history coming alive in the writing.
9. A Dowry for Your Hand” by Michelle Tang – Centered around betrayal, the ghostly element was excellently done by the author.
10. “The Mouth of Hell” by Cody Goodfellow – Heaven and Hell, oh my, the story just exploded into a purgatory of horror.
11. “The Lady of Leer Castle” by Christopher O’Halloran – Sinister and creepy, the Lady of the Leer Castle was another story that would have made for a captivating full-length novel.
12. “Schizzare” by Bridget D. Brave – Mushrooms and I believed, I couldn’t hate them more.
13. “The King of Youth vs. The Knight of Death” by Patrick Barb – Power games and gritty action, this was intriguing.
14. “The Forgotten Valley” by C.B. Jones – The price of desire and wants and an ancient spear, this was a gritty horror.
15. “The Fourth Scene” by Brian Evenson – A missing image in a tapestry with a demon at its end, a plot brilliantly conceived by the author.
16. “White Owl” by Stevie Edwards – Another favorite of mine in this anthology centered on a witch and the plight of the women in the medieval times and flawless rich atmosphere.
17. “A Dark Quadrivium” by David Worn – Questioning the very creation of the world, A Dark Quadrivium was disturbing, to say the least.
18. “The Lai of the Danse Macabre” by Jessica Peter – I am not sure I’m the right audience for this story in poetic form, though the horror did come thru nicely.
Highly recommended for all fans, Howl From The Dark Ages, is sure to leave you with goosebumps and an intense desire to turn all the lights on!
Many thanks to Solomon Forse, HOWL Society Press, and the authors for a chance to read and review this book. All opinions are expressed voluntarily.
Uncover the secret annals of untold history in these eighteen medieval manuscripts. Each tortured scribe will bring you face to face with ancient horrors lurking in cursed castles, wild woodlands, haunted hamlets, and mysterious monasteries.
Including a lineup of authors both established and emerging, HOWL Society Press presents the first-ever anthology of historical horror from the medieval period, fittingly introduced by the writer who arguably started it all: Christopher Buehlman, author of the medieval horror epic Between Two Fires.
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