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While there are a few of the usual suspects (werewolves, demons and ghosts) the collection also includes supernatural creepers from India, Africa, and Russia. I also noticed that many stories deal with war, which didn’t surprise me. War is horror, no matter which side you’re on.
Here’s a look at some of the stories that I enjoyed.
“Melusina” by Kristin Roahrig: This story is set in the 18th century, during the French Revolution. A young Swiss man, believed to be cursed by a ghost who haunts his family leaves home to become a soldier. He finds work as a Swiss Guard at the French castle of Tuileries. When the castle is stormed by an angry mob, and the Swiss Guard is called to fight, will the curse damn him or save him? Blending the story of a family ghost into a historic battle is a good example of everything I liked about this anthology.
Another story I enjoyed was “Traitor Coward Betrayer” by Joseph Lofthouse. Set in the South at the end of the Civil War, Mary Stone does the best she can to keep her home and farm alive, while fearing her husband is dead on the battlefield. Harassed by the corrupt preacher and his “home guard” cronies, she defends her honor and waits for her husband to come home, dead or alive.
“We Pass from View” by Misha Burnett is still with me, probably because the last book I read was a book of interviews of horror film greats. Written in a nonfiction style, it’s an article and interview about a horror movie so disturbing that no one who saw it kept their sanity intact. The realism is spot on, and while the history is more recent, I think it makes it more chilling.
But along with the good, I found some offerings that left me flat. Whether it was writing style or subject matter, I just didn’t like them and it’s purely subjective on my part. I urge other readers to find their own favorites.
Some stories had me completely hooked until they ended with an abrupt jolt that left me hanging. Others were less of a complete story and more of a vignette from the shadows of a notable historic event. These were tantalizing and good, and I wanted more.
Overall, I liked this anthology. It’s a solid collection in a crowded field, and features a diverse spread of history, cultures and voices. The stories fit the theme well, and it was a treat to see and hear tales with a global reach. I recommend this for readers who like classic horror, ghost stories, and tales of war mingled with the supernatural.
I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review, originally published at The Bookie Monster.