Howls from the Dark Ages: An Anthology of Medieval Horror

Joshua Mortensen. May 2022. 354p. ed. by P. L. McMillan & Solomon Forse. ISBN 9781736780046. pap. $19.99. HORROR
This horror anthology adds a few more shades of darkness to the Dark Ages. Featuring an impressive lineup of both established authors and emerging voices in horror, it includes a myriad of macabre tales from a time when monsters went roaming once the sun went down, the door to hell was right outside one’s own doorstep, and magic existed, though its miracles came with a terrible price. Readers might expect more of a fantasy adjacent collection of stories, but these stories are as sharp and brutal as the inside of an iron maiden. They feature ghostly ladies, cursed texts, demonic knights, devilish saints, and witches, who aren’t as evil as the lords who rule over their people with an iron fist. While showcasing stories not just about medieval Europe but other cultures of the age, it stays focused on universal evils like hatred of others, the dangers of zealotry, and the crushing weight of corrupt institutions.
VERDICT With an overarching theme of a quaint museum visit and an introduction by medieval horror writer Christopher Buehlman, this is a delightfully terrifying trip through history.
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