Crystal Lake Publishing. Paperback and Ebook (Â£3 from Smashwords)
Reviewed by I Oâ€™Reilly
This new collection of short stories from the pen of William Meikle will appeal to both fans of his work and admirers of horrific and the macabre. Within this volume he assembles seventeen short tales that span the shambling gamut of horror, from Lovecraftian plasma from outer space to the historical fantasy of the titular story, geriatric zombies, mysterious methuselahs and of course the unquiet dead.
For those of you arenâ€™t aware of his work, William Meikle has been producing horror, detective and scifi fiction for almost 30 years now, with stories that evoke the adventurous and gruesome tales of Lovecraft, Fritz Leiber and Campbell.
One of my favourites, â€œRickmanâ€™s Plasmaâ€ keeps to the point and decants the essence of a good Lovecraftian tale, and tells it with style and dry humour.
Another interesting tale is â€œThe Brotherhood of Thornsâ€ which, alongside a number of the stories in the collection could all be called historical horror, which features sword fights, curses, lots of gore and an unusual take on the importance of reliquaries.
â€œThe Toughest Mileâ€ contrasts as one of the collections few fantasy pieces, a savage dark fantasy myth featuring a warrior who has to fight seemingly insurmountable, constant challenges to win his freedom.
The stories vary in length and style, making it an ideal book for a quick fright, and the author varies the tone and setting enough to keep the reading from going stale. Nothing storms out of the page and stops your heart or starts your tears, but Meikles infectious imagination and love for the dark might make you keep the light on at night.