The tomb of Count Gore De Vol

J.L. Comeau, The TombKeeper "Welcome to Count Gore De Vol's Tomb of Dark Delights.   I'm J. L. Comeau, horror writer and resident Tomb Keeper.  I have been charged with the daunting task of sorting and cataloging the Count's vast library of horror, science fiction and fantasy.  Take a torch from the wall and follow me down the stone stairway into the darkness deep beneath the Dungeon.  It's cold and damp down here--perfect for the kind of reading we're going to do.  Never mind the shambling figures in the shadows, they're probably just some friends of ours looking for a good book. If you click on the cover, you'll be taken to a wonderful place where you can buy the book.
Now, let's reach into the musty stacks and see what we can find..."

 

(Clicking on the covers gives you more information and prices from Amazon.com and other outlets.) 

This week in the Tomb, we’re kicking it old-style horror and new-style steampunk! Take your pick or pick up both—these are grand entertainments for genre fans of all tastes. Enjoy!

ASH by James Herbert

Known and beloved for his diverting and accessible supernatural fiction, I have been enjoying James Herbert’s fun horror fiction since THE RATS and THE FOG were published way back when. Following on the heels of his well-received recent haunted house novel, THE SECRET OF CRICKLEY HALL, the Grand Master of Horror returns with whirlwind tale of ghostly doings set in a haunted castle. Comraich Castle looms above the western Scottish coastlands, a foreboding windswept stone structure perched atop a craggy cliff. The castle is a popular retreat for the mega-rich who seek it out because of its legendary hauntings. Comraich’s secrets are far deeper and darker than any of its wealthy visitors realize, however, secrets that would horrify the entire world if exposed. An influential secret group called the IC (Inner Court) summons a parapsychologist and ghost hunter named David Ash to investigate recent events reported by the staff, including strange odors, moving objects, flickering lights. But most of all, the IC wants to know what happened to an unfortunate Comraich resident who was found murdered and affixed to a wall by his own sticky drying blood. David Ash has had plenty of experience exorcising evil spirits in the course of his work, but he may have met his match—or his better—within the walls of Comraich Castle. This is a classical British supernatural page-burner that will delight fans of supernatural thrillers.


THE SIX-GUN TAROT by R. S. Belcher

And now, for something completely different, how about a steampunk weird Western set in 1869 Nevada? This is a crazy-fun, mind-bending mashup of genres and a debut novel from the Grand Prize Winner of the Strange New Worlds SF writing contest. And what a novel it is! Welcome to Golgotha, a cattle town that lies just beyond the deadly 40-Mile Desert, a town where secrets lie seething just beneath the dust and grit, where the sheriff’s neck is scarred by a hangman’s noose and his deputy is part coyote. The town mayor is hiding and protecting a hoard of magical treasures, and the banker’s wife is a member of an ancient secret order of assassins. Stop into the saloon for a whiskey, but be advised that the owner, like the town, is not exactly what he seems, and that’s just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. There’s some bad stuff going on in Golgotha; something terrible is stirring in the old, abandoned silver mine that stares down at the town with its dark eye. When the thing in the mine comes to life, it’s going to be up to the sheriff and his men to stop the terror or it’s going to be the last roundup for the cattle town…and the rest of the world as well. Oh, and there are talking animals. And zombies. And so much more! THE SIX-GUN TAROT is fully dilated imagination running at a wicked pace, employing wild and wonderful characters and set-pieces that leave the reader dazzled by their audacity and originality. I love this novel!

 


 I’m not known for an undying love of the fey folk, unicorns, elves and the like, but fantasy fiction is a wide-ranging genre, as I will illustrate with two engaging novels I’ve excavated from Count Gore’s Teetering Tower of Terror Tomes this week. Come on! Let’s fantasize together.

THREE PARTS DEAD by Max Gladstone

This is a debut novel that is a marvel of world building and imaginative genre-bending that nimbly merges urban fantasy and courtroom thriller with deft efficacy and full-bore entertainment value. The power generator for the city of Alt Coulumb is located in the subterranean Sanctum of Kos, where the Technician maintains the steampunkish machinery that keeps the city working, the power derived the fire god, Kos. When Kos unexpectedly dies, the city falls into mechanical and social disarray because no one is sure how to restore power in the vacuum left behind by Kos’ demise. In this world, the legal system is as convoluted and mysterious as any other; however, the machinations of the system are magical in nature. Accountants and attorneys are powerful sorcerers, contracts are bound by enchantments, and the stock market is driven by investments of gods. With Kos gone, everything is in disorder. The leaders of Alt Coulumb hire the necromancer Elayne Kevarian to resurrect Kos with the help of his first year associate Tara Abernathy and chain-smoking priest named Abelard. Together the trio begins to unravel the circumstances surrounding the death of the fire god, finding layer upon layer of deceit and mystery that the young and talented apprentice necromancer, Tara, begins to untangle with gusto. Her mission to uncover the truth will put at risk her life, the life of her associates and the survival of the city of Alt Coulumb. What a mess! Suspenseful, funny, involving and ingenious, THREE PARTS DEAD is urban fantasy of the highest order.



BLOOD’S PRIDE by Evie Manieri

Are you a fan of full-bore epic medieval-style romantic warrior action fantasy? Got your novel right here! 500 pages of cultures clashing, families torn asunder by political loyalties, lusty lovemaking and heady pacing make BLOOD’S PRIDE a must-read for fans of otherworldly historical fantasy. First in the Shattered Kingdoms series, this debut novel begins twenty years after the ghostly armada of tall ships of the warlike, seagoing Norlanders decimate the peaceful coastal fishing culture of the Shadar, forcing the survivors of their rout into slavery. The Norlanders require the dark ore found on Shadari lands to create their terrible black weaponry, and the Shadari slaves must mine the ore. The Norlanders have sealed the Shadari's fate by forging a trade alliance with the desert-dwelling tribe of the Nomas, cutting of any hope of escape or salvation of the conquered Shadar. But the once mighty Norlander governor is dying, and he chooses his daughter, Frea, from among his three warrior children to oversee the mines. Frea’s sister Isa becomes Frea’s eager lieutenant, but their brother, Eofar, has fallen in love with a beautiful Shadari slave. A quiet rebellion has been fomenting among the Shadari and, at last, they have found the courage and wherewithal to hire a notorious female mercenary called the Mongrel to aid them in their growing revolution against the Norlanders. Can the unpredictable, volatile Mongrel be trusted to remain loyal to the Shadari’s cause? How will the governor’s daughters, now in power, react when they discover the woman to whom their brother has given his heart is an enslaved enemy? And what of the Nomas? Which side will they choose when the rebellion becomes a war? BLOOD’S PRIDE is truly epic in scope and storytelling brio. Fantasy fans, rejoice!

 


 To get even more information about these titles, including some of the best prices on the Internet, just click on each of the book covers and you'll be connected to Amazonsm.gif (2492 bytes)

To visit the individual writer's website, just click on any underlined name.


About the Tomb Keeper (Or, who is this person of mystery)

J. L. (Judy) Comeau is an award winning short story writer whose work has appeared internationally in major horror and dark fantasy anthologies such as the Borderlands series, Best New Horror, The Years' Best Horror, the Hot Blood series, and the Dark Voices series in the UK.  She is an active member of the Horror Writer's Association, and she lives in the Washington, DC area where she also teaches short story writing. Click on FIREBIRD to read one of her most anthologized stories.

To learn more about the Horror Writer's Association, just click on their logo!


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