10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
A very clever novella with some real creepiness,
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This review is from: De Bello Lemures, Or The Roman War Against the Zombies of Armorica (Kindle Edition)
I heard about this clever book from someone on a discussion board. The framing as a translation of a Roman manuscript is brilliantly done -- from the "cover" to the translator's introduction to the footnotes. The way it allows your imagination to work on what happened in AD 185 before you get to the actual manuscript reminded me of the slow build-up of an H. Rider Haggard novel. The story itself lives up to the frame. It has good suspense and pacing, with real chills. Overall, the author succeeds at the difficult task of writing a horror story that is both entertaining for modern readers and believable (or not wholly unbelievable) as an ancient work. On a few occasions, the spell was briefly broken when the dialogue became too modern. But those moments are rare.
Well done! I'm interested in seeing more work from this author.
(I have one technical question that remains unanswered: In the title, what is the grammatical relation of "lemures" to "de bello"?) [Edit: A helpful comment to this review gives the text of a footnote that explains the title's wording.]
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Initial post: Feb 18, 2010 8:04:45 AM PST
I was confused by the title as well. I think the author is trying for a title meaning "About the war with the undead" similar to Caesar's "About the Gallic Wars". It should be something like "de bello in lemures" or maybe "de bello lemurum".
In reply to an earlier post on Feb 21, 2010 5:43:42 PM PST
I agree with your revisions of the title. I actually asked the author about this on a discussion board, and he said he realized the title was grammatically incorrect but used it anyway in order make the most of search engines. Since the book seems to be doing well (deservedly so), most readers are apparently not put off by the Latin boo-boo.
In reply to an earlier post on Feb 22, 2013 9:54:52 PM PST
William Thomas Lester says:
I don't know if you guys noticed but the grammatical issues are explained in the book. Perhaps they were added to the later editions but in the foreword a footnote states: "1 Castus, naturally, did not give this letter at title; the title is a later addition by an unknown medieval copyist. The date of the title's addition is not known, but the ungrammatical, bowdlerized Latin argues for a post-Carolingian timeframe."
In reply to an earlier post on Feb 23, 2013 8:08:06 AM PST
Thanks -- I don't remember seeing that when I read the book. I will fix my review.
In reply to an earlier post on Feb 24, 2013 8:27:59 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 24, 2013 8:28:16 AM PST
William Thomas Lester says:
Yeah, it was likely added in a later edition. But it was a good enough explination for me, and helped established the feeling that this story was around for a while.
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