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Howls from the Dark Ages

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Uncover the secret annals of untold history in these eighteen medieval manuscripts. Each tortured scribe will bring you face to face with ancient horrors lurking in cursed castles, wild woodlands, haunted hamlets, and mysterious monasteries. Including a lineup of authors both established and emerging, HOWL Society Press presents the first-ever anthology of historical horro Uncover the secret annals of untold history in these eighteen medieval manuscripts. Each tortured scribe will bring you face to face with ancient horrors lurking in cursed castles, wild woodlands, haunted hamlets, and mysterious monasteries. Including a lineup of authors both established and emerging, HOWL Society Press presents the first-ever anthology of historical horror from the medieval period, fittingly introduced by the writer who arguably started it all: Christopher Buehlman, author of the medieval horror epic Between Two Fires. "The Crowing" by Caleb Stephens "Angelus" by Philippa Evans "Palette" by J.L. Kiefer "Brother Cornelius" by Peter Ong Cook "In Thrall to This Good Earth" by Hailey Piper "In Every Drop" by Lindsey Ragsdale "Deus Vult" by Ethan Yoder "The Final Book of Sainte Foy's Miracles" by M.E. Bronstein "A Dowry for Your Hand" by Michelle Tang "The Mouth of Hell" by Cody Goodfellow "The Lady of Leer Castle" by Christopher O'Halloran "Schizzare" by Bridget D. Brave "The King of Youth vs. The Knight of Death" by Patrick Barb "The Forgotten Valley" by C.B. Jones "The Fourth Scene" by Brian Evenson "White Owl" by Stevie Edwards "A Dark Quadrivium" by David Worn "The Lai of the Danse Macabre" by Jessica Peter


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Uncover the secret annals of untold history in these eighteen medieval manuscripts. Each tortured scribe will bring you face to face with ancient horrors lurking in cursed castles, wild woodlands, haunted hamlets, and mysterious monasteries. Including a lineup of authors both established and emerging, HOWL Society Press presents the first-ever anthology of historical horro Uncover the secret annals of untold history in these eighteen medieval manuscripts. Each tortured scribe will bring you face to face with ancient horrors lurking in cursed castles, wild woodlands, haunted hamlets, and mysterious monasteries. Including a lineup of authors both established and emerging, HOWL Society Press presents the first-ever anthology of historical horror from the medieval period, fittingly introduced by the writer who arguably started it all: Christopher Buehlman, author of the medieval horror epic Between Two Fires. "The Crowing" by Caleb Stephens "Angelus" by Philippa Evans "Palette" by J.L. Kiefer "Brother Cornelius" by Peter Ong Cook "In Thrall to This Good Earth" by Hailey Piper "In Every Drop" by Lindsey Ragsdale "Deus Vult" by Ethan Yoder "The Final Book of Sainte Foy's Miracles" by M.E. Bronstein "A Dowry for Your Hand" by Michelle Tang "The Mouth of Hell" by Cody Goodfellow "The Lady of Leer Castle" by Christopher O'Halloran "Schizzare" by Bridget D. Brave "The King of Youth vs. The Knight of Death" by Patrick Barb "The Forgotten Valley" by C.B. Jones "The Fourth Scene" by Brian Evenson "White Owl" by Stevie Edwards "A Dark Quadrivium" by David Worn "The Lai of the Danse Macabre" by Jessica Peter

30 review for Howls from the Dark Ages

  1. 4 out of 5

    Evelyn Freeling

    This is an outstanding anthology. Every single story was wonderfully rendered. At one point, I gave up on commenting about the writing because all of the stories in this anthology are beautifully written. This is an anthology full of epic action and adventure, fantasy, and - yes - horror! Whether you love body horror, cosmic horror, or creeping ghost stories, there's something in here for you. I loved how the editors included an anthology narrator, it made the flow of reading one story after ano This is an outstanding anthology. Every single story was wonderfully rendered. At one point, I gave up on commenting about the writing because all of the stories in this anthology are beautifully written. This is an anthology full of epic action and adventure, fantasy, and - yes - horror! Whether you love body horror, cosmic horror, or creeping ghost stories, there's something in here for you. I loved how the editors included an anthology narrator, it made the flow of reading one story after another so smooth it was addictive. This is one that's difficult to put down once it's opened and will offer every reader something that will stick with them long after the final page. The Crowing by Caleb Stephens - Ronyan was a princess kidnapped as a girl by the Old Crows - witches who hunt the children of Carcassonne in secret, concealed by magic. Now that she's turning 18, the day has come for her crowing. Her only chance to save herself is to follow the instructions of another magical creature, the Otherling. A fantastic opening story full of fantasy and action, yet stewing in deeper elements of humanity: family, betrayal and otherness. The voice in this is a gut punch from the opening line, the prose lush and full of beautiful images and turns of phrases. I loved the worldbuilding and was left wanting more of these characters and this world. Angelus by Philippa Evans - When a young girl is accused of witchcraft and burned at the pyre, Father Adelard is changed. When he asks his mentee, Elias, to help him craft a new bell for the abbey, Elias cannot know Adelard's true intent. As always, Evans' writing stuns. From the first to last sentence, she exhibits such command. Truly, words fail to praise her use of language. Her writing must simply be experienced. A fabulous story exploring injustice, magic in religion, and fear of god. Palette by J.L. Kiefer - A weaver obsessed with maintaining her beauty uses all the ingredients she can get her hands on (namely, toxic ones) in order to do so. Great body horror about beauty, self-objectification, and self-mutilation. I love the way Keifer wove themes that matter today (the protagonist's obsession with self-mutilation echoes today's obsession with plastic surgery) with elements of the period. Brother Cornelius by Peter Ong Cook - A pair of monks in training discover a hidden room where a decrepit prior writes in a book and suspect the monastery is involved in necromancy. This story was the perfect blend of horror and satire. Ronald and Kevin reminded me a bit of Tim Roth and Gary Oldman in Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are dead. And the trumpet. I love when authors go for it and Cook certainly did. In Thrall to This Good Earth by Hailey Piper - Three bounty hunters seek to fulfill a baron's call for the head of the ghost who howls outside his castle at night. A beautifully written story about the power of desire. There were so many lines I highlighted in this piece, Piper's prose really shines. The mystery was perfectly structured, the climax jarring and eerie, and the atmosphere so rich. In Every Drop by Lindsey Ragsdale - Widow and single mother, Akna fights for her and her daughter, Izel's survival as draught and a mysterious monster terrorize their village. Another beautifully written story offering a different flavor of the dark ages - this one centered in a non-European setting (I think somewhere in Latin America), which I adored. A story about sacrifice, motherhood, and love. Deus Vult by Ethan Yoder- A knight returning home from the crusades is abandoned by his horse and seeks refuge in a village where the only aid is from a bishop living in a secluded castle. I loved this take on a knight haunted by war and its atrocities. The ending mystified me a little, I think it could have been elaborated upon a bit more, but I loved the surrealist feeling of the horror and the writing was lush. The Final Book of Sainte Foy's Miracles by M.E. Bronstein - A boy travels with his abusive, vagabond father to thank the Sainte Foy for freeing the father from prison and becomes an apprehensive convert to the child saint after she answers his prayer. I absolutely adored this story. The history of Sainte Foy, a child turned saint after refusing to renounce her faith, was fascinating and, delightfully, accurate! I love historical fiction, so the way real history was incorporated into this story was fantastic. The way the author explored a child's nature - mischievous and fickle - and created horror by infusing that nature into a saintly spirit with real, tangible powers was brilliant. A Dowry For Your Hand by Michelle Tang - Lu Xian and his parents are meeting his proposed betrothed Ming Li and her parents to discuss the dowry, but Lu Xian is haunted by his past love affair. I thought this was slow to start, but once it got going, it didn't hold back. The ending reveal also tied the opening in beautifully, which made me appreciate everything Tang set up in those first pages. The writing and body horror were top notch. This was another one set in a non-European dark age, which I again loved. Fantastically done. The Mouth of Hell by Cody Goodfellow - A page enters hell to save his wrongfully condemned master knight. Boom. I mean a page traversing hell? Yes, please! The pacing here was fantastic. It starts with a bang and is full throttle the entire ride. There was a ton of fun horror and fantasy elements. It felt reminiscent to the Inferno, which I loved. An examination of humanity, religion, and the ways in which man creates god, the devil, heaven and hell. Lady of Leer Castle by Christopher O'Halloran - Set in Ireland, the Canain and mercenary MacMahon clans celebrate their victorious return from battle defending Ireland. The brother of the Canain's chief, Domnall, plans to run off with his soldier lover, Breccan, but greater forces out of their control have ulterior plans for them. I really connected with this one. First, I loved the representation in this. Domnall and Breccan were so sweet and, I thought, wonderfully portrayed. I also loved the thematic exploration. The idea of evil seeming to bloom in the world around us feels sadly relevant today. Domnall asks himself a question that I think many have been asking themselves for the past several years: "Was it always like this and we've only begun to notice?" The answer O'Halloran gives was *chef's kiss*. Fabulously done. Schizzare by Bridget D. Brave - Pietro is a brother in a monastery secretly in love with fellow brother Antoni. When mysterious mushrooms appear to him in a tome, he believes they hold the key to his and Antoni's future. I loved the way the romance in this unfolded. The ending was perfectly tragic and echoed the classic romantic tragedies of bygone eras. Also loved the question of Pietro's mental state this created. The King of Youth vs. The Knight of Death by Patrick Barb - A child crowned King of Youth during Carnival goes mad with power and rallies the other children of the city to seize the castle, leading to a standoff between them and the adults of the city. This felt like a medieval, epic take on Lord of the Flies, which I loved. It was an action packed thrill ride. Fun, gruesome, and twisty. My kind of story! The Forgotten Valley by C.B. Jones - When Tsaleah loses her lover to the beautiful Nova, she goes in search of a legendary spear that will grant her desire. A story about the time-old truth, we desire that which we cannot have most. I loved the setting (indigenous, I believe) and the influence it had on the gorgeous storytelling with the legend that was included. There were several lines I highlighted. This was another epic-feeling story and I loved the turn in the last quarter of the story. The Fourth Scene by Brian Evenson - A mysterious tapestry with a missing scene appears to a king who sends a knight to retrieve the fourth scene. This story about self-fulfilling prophecies and what is passed on between generations is beautifully contained while at the same time having far reaching implications into reality itself. The mystery, world building and efficiency of language were all fantastic. Simply masterful. White Owl by Stevie Edwards - A fairytale about a murderous witch and two friends whose fate become entwined with her. I loved everything about this: the writing, the characters and their arcs, the ending. A story about women, friendship, and the ways women find to survive--life, marriage, disappointments. I will never tire of examinations of women's treatment and roles in historical periods, both inside and outside the home. A Dark Quadrivium by David Worn - A scholar translates the text of a heretic only to discover the heretic might be right, the Good God isn't the creator of this world. I loved the disturbing proposition this story makes and the gruesome turns it takes. It was also full of fun references for any history buffs. Once the climax got going, it was full throttle. Perfect for cosmic horror and gore lovers alike. The Lai of the Danse Macabre by Jessica Peter - Camille is troubled by visions of revelations, the end times. Declared blessed with a holy gift, she submits to voluntary immurement. Written in poetic octameter, this rhyming epic poem felt like something that very well could have been written in the dark ages. I loved that Peter didn't hold back with the horror, gore, and creepy images that seared my brain. I'm not very well versed in poetry, but I loved this. The writing was crisp, the story clear, with a familiar structure. Accessible even for people like me who only dabble in poetry.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Matt

    I received a complimentary eARC of Howls from the Dark Ages edited by P.L. McMillian and Solomon Forse from HOWL Society Press, and provided feedback on formatting and typos. I am also a member of the HOWL Society, but I am not published in this anthology of medieval horror and am not personally profiting from its sale. All opinions are my own. Howls from the Dark Ages is the second anthology of short horror fiction from HOWL Society Press, following their debut anthology Howls from Hell in 2021 I received a complimentary eARC of Howls from the Dark Ages edited by P.L. McMillian and Solomon Forse from HOWL Society Press, and provided feedback on formatting and typos. I am also a member of the HOWL Society, but I am not published in this anthology of medieval horror and am not personally profiting from its sale. All opinions are my own. Howls from the Dark Ages is the second anthology of short horror fiction from HOWL Society Press, following their debut anthology Howls from Hell in 2021. This book, like the prior volume, is largely an effort of emerging horror authors from the writers channel in the HOWL Society Discord, an online book club which clawed its way into existence out of the /r/horrorlit subreddit in the early months of the COVID pandemic. Unlike the prior book, which featured a variety of different stories spanning sub-genres, this collection features stories specifically set in the medieval period from both HOWLS members and other authors. HftDA begins with an introduction from Christopher Buehlman, who lends insight from the process of writing his own novel of medieval horror (Between Two Fires) to illuminate the challenge of writing period horror and contextualize the tales that follow. The book begins with a short note from a “curator,” establishing a recurring framework in which the reader is cast in the role of a visitor to a mysterious museum. Before each story the reader reads a short note about and views an object (created by a litany of artists) which features prominently in the story that follows. This was a fascinating idea, even if this concept did seem slightly confusing as I read the first curatorial note. The stories are all set during the medieval period, most in Europe though the Americas and China are also represented. The protagonists come from a variety of backgrounds, though as might be expected a great many are monks, nuns, knights, etc. One of the strengths of a common time period setting is the ability to explore similar themes, tropes, and other elements across multiple authors, styles, and points of view. Yet this also resulted in a lot of repetition in themes, character types, etc. This isn’t a bad thing, just know going in that you’re going to read a lot of stories exploring some common ground. For example, a lot of the stories dealt with medieval Christianity (and attitudes about it ranged from critical to creative!) Overall I found the stories to range from “good” to “great.” While a few left me with unanswered questions or a bit confused, many were totally immersive in the medieval world and combined excellent storytelling with horrifying and engaging plots and imagery. My favorite stories in the anthologies included Angelus by Philippa Evans, Brother Cornelius by Peter Ong Cook, Deus Vult by Ethan Yoder, The Final Book of Sainte Foy’s Miracles by M.E. Bronstein, The Fourth Scene by Brian Evenson, White Owl Stevie Edwards, A Dark Quadrivium by David Worn, and the story-in-verse The Lai of the Danse Macabre by Jessica Peter. I enjoyed HftDA. Fans of medieval horror (or just medieval stories) will likely love it too. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️💫

  3. 4 out of 5

    Bradley

    This is a nearly perfect collection of Middle Ages supernatural horror. The anthology, when it doesn't fully satisfy or drive me into a story or two, still fully invests me in the horror, itself. For the rest, I simply loved the overwhelming religious dread, the atmosphere of hell-on-earth, the truly sordid *everything* and the insistence that hell HAD to be ever-worse because reality really was competing neck-to-neck with these people's imaginations. Yes. The Black Plague, the endless wars, the f This is a nearly perfect collection of Middle Ages supernatural horror. The anthology, when it doesn't fully satisfy or drive me into a story or two, still fully invests me in the horror, itself. For the rest, I simply loved the overwhelming religious dread, the atmosphere of hell-on-earth, the truly sordid *everything* and the insistence that hell HAD to be ever-worse because reality really was competing neck-to-neck with these people's imaginations. Yes. The Black Plague, the endless wars, the famine and superstition, and the deadly dance WERE almost as bad as their conception of Hell. Or maybe it WAS worse. So, for us, reading this particular brand of horror, it's really a competition, a race to the bottom. :) I recommend this.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Kelly

    I would not read this book at night by myself. I probably wouldn't read this book at night even if I wasn't alone either for that matter. I said I was looking for a scary book and Howls From the Dark Ages definitely filled that need. Maybe a little too well! A collection of short stories written by a variety of authors each of these tales are downright creepy and while I'm not going to review each story, however, I will say that The Crowing by Caleb Stephens was my absolute favorite. To be hones I would not read this book at night by myself. I probably wouldn't read this book at night even if I wasn't alone either for that matter. I said I was looking for a scary book and Howls From the Dark Ages definitely filled that need. Maybe a little too well! A collection of short stories written by a variety of authors each of these tales are downright creepy and while I'm not going to review each story, however, I will say that The Crowing by Caleb Stephens was my absolute favorite. To be honest I'd like to see it turned into a whole book, as I really need to know what happens next! My only tiny complaint is that in most of the stories I never felt like I was reading a story that was actually set in Medieval times and I think that's probably because they were all short stories just not enough space to really set the scene but still. The reason I read it was because of the timeframe they were supposed to be set in so that was a tad bit disappointing. And I mean just a tad bit because out of all of the short story compilations I've read recently this was easily the best. Each story felt complete I didn't feel like the author left anything out (other than the aforementioned), none of them felt rushed, and none of the stories were confusing. Overall, if you are a horror fan I can't recommend this one enough, just remember you may want to leave the lights on when you do. Thanks to Netgalley and HOWL Society Press for the eArc, this review has been left voluntarily. Blog Facebook Instagram

  5. 5 out of 5

    Ctgt

    There is no good or evil. There is no God but power. You can serve it, and become God’s hand upon the earth, or you can defy it, and be truly damned.” The Mouth of Hell-Cody Goodfellow Thanks to The Howl Society for the copy of this collection. Really solid writing across the board with no real clunkers, a few that didn't resonate but that's just personal preference. I tagged eleven of the eighteen stories which is high number compared to my normal reading experience. Also applaud the handful of st There is no good or evil. There is no God but power. You can serve it, and become God’s hand upon the earth, or you can defy it, and be truly damned.” The Mouth of Hell-Cody Goodfellow Thanks to The Howl Society for the copy of this collection. Really solid writing across the board with no real clunkers, a few that didn't resonate but that's just personal preference. I tagged eleven of the eighteen stories which is high number compared to my normal reading experience. Also applaud the handful of stories outside the normal European setting. Great stories from Cody Goodfellow and Brian Evenson but the real enjoyment for me is coming across new to me authors and I want to highlight three of those examples. Deus Volt by Ethan Yoder White Owl by Stevie Edwards A Dark Quadrivium by David Worn Fantastic imagery in all three stories. 8/10

  6. 4 out of 5

    Magdalena

    I didn't realise I needed a collection of medieval short horror stories until I've read Howls from the Dark Ages. First and foremost, it's an absolute triumph and huge congratulations to HOWL Society for putting together such an original anthology. The cover is stunning, Christopher Buehlman provided a great foreword and then there was the Curator - a wonderful addition introducing us to each story. As with almost every short story collection, you will never love every single tale. There are som I didn't realise I needed a collection of medieval short horror stories until I've read Howls from the Dark Ages. First and foremost, it's an absolute triumph and huge congratulations to HOWL Society for putting together such an original anthology. The cover is stunning, Christopher Buehlman provided a great foreword and then there was the Curator - a wonderful addition introducing us to each story. As with almost every short story collection, you will never love every single tale. There are some I enjoyed more than the others, but I have only respect for all of the authors as all the stories are well written and full of passion. Here are my absolute favourites! "The Crowing" was a strong opening story and I enjoyed an ancient ritual and guts flying around. "Brother Cornelius" - EXCELLENT. Packed with action, secrets and demons, both funny and dark. It felt very much like a M.R. James story. The set up was brilliant and the ending fantastic! "In Every Drop" - dark, tense and a bit sad. It was brilliant. "A Dowry for Your Hand" - it was a stand-out in the collection, full of suspense and blood! "The Mouth of Hell" - this one started slowly, but soon picked up the pace and the ending was amazing. "White Owl" - I do like a witch story! And I very much enjoyed some lovely descriptions of removing an eye from its socket :) "A Dark Quadrivium" - nothing beats a story with a church and an old (dark and suspicious!) book. There was so much carnage and I loved it. "The Lai of the Danse Macabre" - another stand-out in the collection that is already original. This was a wonderful final piece, completely innovative and gripping. Thank you to HOWL Society for sharing an early copy in exchange for an honest review.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Farshana ❤️rainnbooks❤️

    An anthology of horror stories set in medieval times, Howls From The Dark Ages is that one book that needs to be bought and kept on your shelf permanently if you are a fan of the genre. From the mesmerizing cover image to the foreword written by Christopher Buelhman, the story unfolds in a peculiar fashion inviting the readers to walk thru a collection of artifacts in the museum. Amazingly well done, the image of the artifact and its short introduction is more than enough to scare the living day An anthology of horror stories set in medieval times, Howls From The Dark Ages is that one book that needs to be bought and kept on your shelf permanently if you are a fan of the genre. From the mesmerizing cover image to the foreword written by Christopher Buelhman, the story unfolds in a peculiar fashion inviting the readers to walk thru a collection of artifacts in the museum. Amazingly well done, the image of the artifact and its short introduction is more than enough to scare the living daylights out of anyone, my imaginative mind playing havoc with the galloping heart. Like Howls From Hell, the first anthology from Howl Society Press, this anthology offers something for everyone who loves horror; fairy tales and fantasy; ghosts and witches; monsters and demons; the priests and knights; all 18 stories make for some addictive reading. As expected from the era Howls From the Dark Ages is set in, most of the stories are focused on the church and Christianity and the themes of priests, knights, and a general sense of doom and gloom. 1. "The Crowing" by Caleb Stephens- A fantastic opening short story with a fantasy element of witches and otherlings, NOW this is a story that I wished was a full-length novel by itself coz of the beautiful imagery of the woods and the darkness and cruelty of the witches that was conveyed with some brilliant creepy writing. 2. “Angelus" by Philippa Evans – A story that explores the dark side of magic and religion. 3. "Palette" by J.L. Kiefer- The author has done a terrific job in this horror story capturing the need to look perfect and with the kind of dyes and chemicals that should never be used for personal experimentation. 4. "Brother Cornelius" by Peter Ong Cook – The only story in this anthology that had a bit of lighter moments what with the confusion of identity between the monks Kevin and Ronald, and the ancient horror that has to be contained. 5. "In Thrall to This Good Earth" by Hailey Piper – I loved the theme of hunting for ghosts in the forest and the price to be paid for its discovery; the mystery element of the story wraps up this brilliant narrative. 6. "In Every Drop" by Lindsey Ragsdale – A harrowing story that tore me to pieces depicting a mother's intense love amidst a drought in the village. 7. "Deus Vult" by Ethan Yoder – A knight, the horrors of war, and a medieval castle that hides its true intentions, I felt a little out of depth with the ending of the story. 8. "The Final Book of Sainte Foy's Miracles" by M.E. Bronstein – Another favorite of mine in this anthology with history coming alive in the writing. 9. A Dowry for Your Hand" by Michelle Tang – Centered around betrayal, the ghostly element was excellently done by the author. 10. "The Mouth of Hell" by Cody Goodfellow – Heaven and Hell, oh my, the story just exploded into a purgatory of horror. 11. "The Lady of Leer Castle" by Christopher O'Halloran – Sinister and creepy, the Lady of the Leer Castle was another story that would have made for a captivating full-length novel. 12. “Schizzare” by Bridget D. Brave – Mushrooms and I believed, I couldn’t hate them more. 13. “The King of Youth vs. The Knight of Death” by Patrick Barb – Power games and gritty action, this was intriguing. 14. "The Forgotten Valley" by C.B. Jones – The price of desire and wants and an ancient spear, this was a gritty horror. 15. "The Fourth Scene" by Brian Evenson – A missing image in a tapestry with a demon at its end, a plot brilliantly conceived by the author. 16. "White Owl" by Stevie Edwards – Another favorite of mine in this anthology centered on a witch and the plight of the women in the medieval times and flawless rich atmosphere. 17. "A Dark Quadrivium" by David Worn – Questioning the very creation of the world, A Dark Quadrivium was disturbing, to say the least. 18. "The Lai of the Danse Macabre" by Jessica Peter – I am not sure I’m the right audience for this story in poetic form, though the horror did come thru nicely. Highly recommended for all fans, Howl From The Dark Ages, is sure to leave you with goosebumps and an intense desire to turn all the lights on! Many thanks to Solomon Forse, HOWL Society Press, and the authors for a chance to read and review this book. All opinions are expressed voluntarily. This review is published in my blog Rain'n'Books, ##Goodreads, ##Amazon India, ##Book Bub, ##Medium.com, ##Facebook, ##Twitter.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Nina The Wandering Reader

    “Follow me– but be mindful not to leave the lighted path. I cannot guarantee your safety should you stray into the shadows.” Another fantastic collection from HOWL Society Press that I feel so honored to have grace my home-library shelves. HOWLS FROM THE DARK AGES brings you 18 short stories filled with dark magic, adventure and curses galore. If there’s one thing I’m certain you need added to your home library, it’s a mosh-pit of body horror, cosmic horror, dark fantasy, ghost stories, fairy tal “Follow me– but be mindful not to leave the lighted path. I cannot guarantee your safety should you stray into the shadows.” Another fantastic collection from HOWL Society Press that I feel so honored to have grace my home-library shelves. HOWLS FROM THE DARK AGES brings you 18 short stories filled with dark magic, adventure and curses galore. If there’s one thing I’m certain you need added to your home library, it’s a mosh-pit of body horror, cosmic horror, dark fantasy, ghost stories, fairy tales, and even a bit of horror comedy, all set in the Dark Ages. There’s a little something for everybody! What’s especially unique about this anthology is that it’s set up as if you, the reader, are on a tour of an odd museum. The narrator–or “curator”-- leads you from one chilling story to another, displaying them as exhibits. It’s such a creative way to transition between tales! Another plus for me was that while this is an anthology with a Middle Ages theme, not all the stories are set in Medieval Europe. One story–A Dowry for Your Hand–is set in China, while another story–In Every Drop– is set in what I’d like to guess is somewhere in South America. A handful of my favorites in this collection were: Palette by J.L. Keifer Brother Cornelius by Peter Ong Cook A Dowry for Your Hand by Michelle Tang In Every Drop by Lindsey Ragsdale The Final Book of Sainte Foy's Miracles by M.E. Bronstein A Dark Quadrivium by David Worn If you, as a reader, are a lover of dark magic, spells, curses, and all things supernatural, this will make an excellent addition to your shelves. (Special thanks to editor Solomon Forse and HOWL Society Press for a very beautiful review copy!)

  9. 5 out of 5

    Kristina

    What an interesting read! We (the readers) are put in the shoes of guests visiting mysterious museum of various different objects. Our docent shows us each piece (those being the pictures for the artifacts in question) and introduces us to them. He's slightly peculiar but we listen to him carefully before the artifact pulls us into its story. The stories were good. Some of them were a bit confusing as to what was happening and why but i didn't have that problem with most of them. I like how each What an interesting read! We (the readers) are put in the shoes of guests visiting mysterious museum of various different objects. Our docent shows us each piece (those being the pictures for the artifacts in question) and introduces us to them. He's slightly peculiar but we listen to him carefully before the artifact pulls us into its story. The stories were good. Some of them were a bit confusing as to what was happening and why but i didn't have that problem with most of them. I like how each tale has a dark element to it and never fails to deliver the horror and the evil. I'm truly thankful to NetGalley for sending me this book for an honest review :)

  10. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca

    Introductory note: I was given an advanced copy of the book in exchange for an honest review. It took me longer to read this, and to write the review, than it normally would, because I was taking detailed notes at first, and also because there were times when I had to go “NOPE” and put it down for awhile. Almost no horror really scares me, I mean really scares me. Sometimes I’ll be startled or grossed out, or possibly horrified (not the same), but “Oh shit, I can’t turn the lights out now” scare Introductory note: I was given an advanced copy of the book in exchange for an honest review. It took me longer to read this, and to write the review, than it normally would, because I was taking detailed notes at first, and also because there were times when I had to go “NOPE” and put it down for awhile. Almost no horror really scares me, I mean really scares me. Sometimes I’ll be startled or grossed out, or possibly horrified (not the same), but “Oh shit, I can’t turn the lights out now” scared? I can name the books and movies that have done that on one hand. But that very short list now has one more entry, as Howls had me literally biting my nails. We start with a non-scary introduction from Christopher Buehlman, discussing the process of writing books set in medieval times, mostly the excruciating process of getting the details right, and the untold hours that can be spent trying to research something that will only be mentioned in one paragraph, but still has to be right. It could be because you know that if you just make it up, *someone* will know it was wrong, and the distraction will take them out of the story. And sometimes it could be something that no one but you will ever know about, but *you’ll* still know that you took the shortcut rather than doing it the right way. As someone who has gone down incredibly ridiculous rabbit holes in the past trying to nail down details from throw away lines, I feel this in my soul. On to the book itself, and the horrors that lie within. One of the things that I typically dislike about anthologies is that they are often just a bunch of stories mashed together, without any themes or connections, and going from one to the next is jarring. However, this collection is framed as a museum of artifacts, and you, as the Esteemed Visitor, are taken on a tour by an unseen curator. Each section starts with an illustration and a comment from the curator, before you turn to the story itself. The illustrations were black and white, minimalist in a way that makes them scarier than anything fully rendered and colored could ever be. Before you reach the first exhibit, you receive a fair warning: “Be mindful not to leave the lighted path.” It immediately hit me and transported me to a darkened hall, lit with strategic pools of light that only make the shadows darker. Is there something moving in the shadows? Maybe—or maybe it’s just my imagination. A trick of the light. Right? RIGHT? No matter what your flavor of horror is, there’s something here that will give you nightmares. While most of the stories are in the more traditional Western European setting, you will also find tales from Asia, North America, Africa, and other places I couldn’t pin down a location for. You have ghost stories, demons, body horror, witches, sexual horror, morality tales, and just about anything else you could come up with. Normally at the end of review I list trigger warnings, but I don’t think there are any triggers that aren’thit somewhere in here. For many of the stories, the worst thing about them for me was that they ended. By design, short stories only give you a snapshot rather than the full picture. Some of them were self-contained, but others left me desperate for answers and trying to piece together what had happened. There was folklore and mythology I recognized, and some that I definitely did not, but that was so compelling I made notes to research later, to see if these were ideas that the author adapted, or original concepts. I’m not going to go into the details for each story, so I can avoid spoilers, and because I don’t want my interpretation of some of them to color any one else’s reading. And some of them I don’t really want to think to closely about again. On some I made detailed notes, on others I just jotted impressions. Sometimes they were more than I could take. “Palette’s” only comment was “DEAR GOD NO,” which was followed by me taking a break for a day. For “Deus Vult,” I started taking regular notes and ended with “What the HELL is this, I’m out.” The best way I can describe the overall experience is this: start with a Bosch painting. Add the most nauseating parts of The Inferno. Adjust with the Alice in Wonderland/Through the Looking Glass sensation of everything being upside down or sideways. Consider eating mushrooms, then read “Schizzare” and vow NEVER TO EAT MUSHROOMS AGAIN. In the end, all I can leave you with is the curator’s final instructions before you exit the museum: “Be a dear and come back. Bring your friends. Bring your family. Until then, I’ll be waiting.”

  11. 4 out of 5

    Diz

    This is a collection of horror short stories set in a medieval world. Interestingly, there are a few stories set outside of Europe, which is a good direction to move in. The stories are creepy, gross, and weird rather than scary, but I enjoyed the wide range of stories offered here.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Zeki Czen

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I was provided an ARC of this book so I feel obligated to write more of a review than my usual. This is a great collection that pulls no punches in laying on the horror and punches above its weight in terms of quality writing from a stellar bunch of contributors. A must-read for any lovers of short horror. The stories are as diverse as the contributors, featuring LGBT and non-white characters and stories. The narrative framing is excellent and works to artfully curate the stories but doesn't get i I was provided an ARC of this book so I feel obligated to write more of a review than my usual. This is a great collection that pulls no punches in laying on the horror and punches above its weight in terms of quality writing from a stellar bunch of contributors. A must-read for any lovers of short horror. The stories are as diverse as the contributors, featuring LGBT and non-white characters and stories. The narrative framing is excellent and works to artfully curate the stories but doesn't get in the way at all. The curator's short pieces are an excellent touch by PL McMillan. This has been an awesome read for a fun sub-genre of horror that doesn't get enough attention without ever falling into lazy tropes. The stories: The Crowing by Caleb Stephens A story of revenge and reversals. Fast paced and direct with lots of dark imagery Angelus by Phillipa Evans There is lot of character development in a short piece. Ominous and bloody with plenty of symbology. A great story Pallet by JF Kiefer A dark and evocative vignette with some heavy body horror and awesomely superlative descriptions. Brother Cornelius by Peter Ong Cook A twist of a tale with holy relics and dire secrets. It's quick, dirty, and satisfying. In Thrall to this Good Earth by Hailey Piper A weird, intense, and superbly written story about a trio of hunters who find their quarry to their own regret and the misfortune of others. In every drop by Lindsay Ragsdale A twisted creature feature. I really enjoyed this one, particularly the setting being something other than medieval Europe. Deus Vult by Ethan Yoder A crusader return home finds something every bit as awful as his time away. It's a gruesome commentary on trauma. The final book of Saint Foy's Miracles by ME Bronstein Solid creep factor from this one with a unique take on medieval pilgrims and their saints. A Dowry for Your Hand by Michelle Tang Another welcome diversion from a purely European setting. Very descriptive, very eerie. Excellent story. The Mouth of Hell by Cody Goodfellow That was a real ride. This story had some action as well a trip to a nightmarish hellscape that any fan of Clive Barker will appreciate. The lady of Leer Castle by Christopher Halleran This one was real fun, with a solid GOT vibe. Schizzare by Bridget Brave This story features some whistful LGBT representation that veers toward the eerie and strange compared to some in this collection that are more horror/fright oriented. The Forgotten Valley by CB Jones A dark story of a jealous lover and a cursed artifact set in the Americas. Splendidly written with great prose. Also some short LGBT representation The King of Youth vs The Knight of Death by Patrick Barb If you like gore and brutal violence, this one is the story for you. Gut wrenching and vile in all the right ways! The Fourth Scene by Brian Evanson This was a real treat of a story from a contemporary master of short horror. Do not skip this tale which may be a story of recursive fate or perhaps a trap of its own. White Owl by Stevie Edwards A fun inversion of a fairy tale witch, both whimsical and gore splattered. A Dark Quadrivium by David Worn I'm a sucker for stories where the narrative centers on a tome of forbidden knowledge, be it the "Necronomicon", " De Vermis Mysteriis", or "To Serve Man". But even without that, this story is a standout in this collection filled with crawling cosmic horror The Lai of the Danse Macabre by Jessica Peter A poem written in sickening stanzas of vile verse. A great ending to the collection.

  13. 4 out of 5

    The Wulver's Library

    I received an eARC by HOWL Society Press edited by P.L. McMillan and Solomon Forse. Howls from the Dark Ages is a horror anthology of 18 medieval tales that includes a foreword by Christopher Buehlman that starts in an interesting manner. We are paraded around a mysterious museum as guests whilst our host shows us a piece of different artefacts. Our hose then drives us into a story about these which I found a really well-executed concept as we also have pictures of these individual pieces. The st I received an eARC by HOWL Society Press edited by P.L. McMillan and Solomon Forse. Howls from the Dark Ages is a horror anthology of 18 medieval tales that includes a foreword by Christopher Buehlman that starts in an interesting manner. We are paraded around a mysterious museum as guests whilst our host shows us a piece of different artefacts. Our hose then drives us into a story about these which I found a really well-executed concept as we also have pictures of these individual pieces. The stories themselves were able to transport us back to a times of witches, castles, horror and bewilderment. The detailed writing in these anthologies is strong and the illustrations only helped the visualisation. The work of all these authors was an easily drawn-in highlight and served as a great introduction.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Horror DNA

    Christopher Buehlman writes the intro to Howls From the Dark Ages: An Anthology of Medieval Horror, which tells us one thing: Strap Yourself In. 18 stories of medieval horror await us, kicking off with Caleb Stephens' "The Crowing," a strong narrative of a condemned woman achieving her revenge and taking back what is hers. The characterization is sublime, the palpable dread, grief, sacrifice and rage flow through the story and give it life until a darkly triumphant and brutal conclusion. You can Christopher Buehlman writes the intro to Howls From the Dark Ages: An Anthology of Medieval Horror, which tells us one thing: Strap Yourself In. 18 stories of medieval horror await us, kicking off with Caleb Stephens' "The Crowing," a strong narrative of a condemned woman achieving her revenge and taking back what is hers. The characterization is sublime, the palpable dread, grief, sacrifice and rage flow through the story and give it life until a darkly triumphant and brutal conclusion. You can read Zach's full review at Horror DNA by clicking here.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Annarella

    I requested this arc because I like Christopher Buehlman's stories and I'm fascinated by the Dark Ages, a good time for any type of horror. This is an excellent anthology, each story introduced by a sort of museum artefact. It's hard to tell which was my favorite story, I like them all and read them over a couple of week enjoying them. There's a lot of different type of horror stories: some are on the "not for the faint of heart" side, other are about religion or historical moments. Highly recommen I requested this arc because I like Christopher Buehlman's stories and I'm fascinated by the Dark Ages, a good time for any type of horror. This is an excellent anthology, each story introduced by a sort of museum artefact. It's hard to tell which was my favorite story, I like them all and read them over a couple of week enjoying them. There's a lot of different type of horror stories: some are on the "not for the faint of heart" side, other are about religion or historical moments. Highly recommended. Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine

  16. 5 out of 5

    Penelope

    Howls from the Dark Ages is a beautifully balanced anthology of medieval horror that ranges from gruesome body horror and gore to chilling and atmospheric. I loved Christopher Buehlman’s medieval horror “Between Two Fires” and knew from his introduction that this book was something special. The tragedy, loss, and suffering associated with this tumultuous historical era are captured on several fronts – from personal perils to institutional cruelty. I appreciated the inclusion of diverse voices an Howls from the Dark Ages is a beautifully balanced anthology of medieval horror that ranges from gruesome body horror and gore to chilling and atmospheric. I loved Christopher Buehlman’s medieval horror “Between Two Fires” and knew from his introduction that this book was something special. The tragedy, loss, and suffering associated with this tumultuous historical era are captured on several fronts – from personal perils to institutional cruelty. I appreciated the inclusion of diverse voices and perspectives, which places the Dark Ages in a global context. “A Dowry For Your Hand” by Michelle Tang, “Brother Cornelius” by Peter Ong Cook, and “The Forgotten Valley” by C.B. Jones were my top three from the collection. Various social issues and the religious crusades of the Dark Ages are explored, with the authors using horror to address everything from subjective morality, tests of faith, and spiritual trauma, to isolation, grief, and obsession. The creative treatment of the stories as part of a macabre museum offers a thread of connection, keeping you rooted in time. I enjoyed the cheeky narration from the “curator,” who provided brief introductions to each new piece. The illustrations preceding each work were an unexpected and delightful addition and enriched the reading experience. I would 100% recommend this anthology to all horror fans. Thank you to HOWL Society Press and editors P.L. McMillan and Solomon Forse for the ARC and the opportunity to review this title.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Melissa

    Howls from the Dark Ages is a collection of 18 stories that surround one of my favorite periods of history, The Middle Ages. The stories in this book are diverse, queer, and frankly, very original. I don't think I've read any stories like the ones featured in Howls from the Dark Ages. Some of my favorite stories include: Angelus by Philippa Evans Palette by J.L. Kiefer In Thrall to This Good Earth by Hailey Piper A Dowry for Your Hand by Michelle Tang The Lady of Leer Castle by Christopher O'Halloran S Howls from the Dark Ages is a collection of 18 stories that surround one of my favorite periods of history, The Middle Ages. The stories in this book are diverse, queer, and frankly, very original. I don't think I've read any stories like the ones featured in Howls from the Dark Ages. Some of my favorite stories include: Angelus by Philippa Evans Palette by J.L. Kiefer In Thrall to This Good Earth by Hailey Piper A Dowry for Your Hand by Michelle Tang The Lady of Leer Castle by Christopher O'Halloran Schizzare by Bridget D. Brave White Owl by Stevie Edwards A Dark Quadrivium by David Worn There are all kinds of themes featured in these stories, including religion, warfare, Crusades, folklore, mushrooms (!!!), and sacred texts. Don't forget the butt trumpet. There are many talented authors in this anthology, many I haven't read before. I can't wait to check out more of their work. Thank you to Howl Society and Solomon Forse for sending me a copy of Howls from the Dark Ages for my honest review. This anthology releases on May 12th. Some CWs in the stories include animal cruelty/death, body horror, domestic abuse, and sexual assault.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Whimsy Dearest

    Howls from the Dark Ages (edited by P.L. McMillan and Solomon Forse) presents a horror anthology of sordid and haunting medieval tales. Instead of a typical foreword, each short story is introduced as a museum piece by a fictitious “curator,” which I think adds a degree of charm and creates a nice cohesive thread throughout the anthology. Some of my personal favorites from this collection include: “Deus Vult” by Ethan Yoder - A weary knight who fought in the Crusades stumbles upon a mysterious bi Howls from the Dark Ages (edited by P.L. McMillan and Solomon Forse) presents a horror anthology of sordid and haunting medieval tales. Instead of a typical foreword, each short story is introduced as a museum piece by a fictitious “curator,” which I think adds a degree of charm and creates a nice cohesive thread throughout the anthology. Some of my personal favorites from this collection include: “Deus Vult” by Ethan Yoder - A weary knight who fought in the Crusades stumbles upon a mysterious bishop's castle. This one is an excellent piece of body and psychological horror that exams the effects of trauma--perfect for fans of Silent Hill or Jacob's Ladder. “A Dowry for Your Hand” by Michelle Tang - Set in medieval China, an expectant groom receives a bracelet made of hair from his future bride, but her gift has sinister consequences. The prose in this one is so lush and grotesque and the chilling end is just chef's kiss. “The Mouth of Hell” by Cody Goodfellow - A pious squire attempts to rescue his master from a village that's rumored to guard the entrance to Hell. However, what he finds there makes him question his faith. This one is a really satisfyingly creepy work of religious horror. Overall, this anthology taps into a period of time that’s often overlooked with the horror genre. It’s a treasure trove of Hellfire, the plague, and overall high mortality rates, so if you’re looking to go medieval, this is a wonderful collection to read. Thank you, NetGalley and HOWL Society Press, for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Horror Bookworm Reviews

    Horror Bookworm Reviews https://horrorbookwormreviews.com/ - An unusual stone is found inside a deserted remote cave. It embellishes beauty as well as an unseen curse. It lies dormant and waits for its chosen one. - A holy tome shrouded in unusual markings, scriptures and secretive messages translates into pure evil and wickedness. - A monastery’s forbidden basement holds dark rumors of magic and necromancy. Upon further investigation, enhanced sacred writings of blasphemy chronicles a deadly ri Horror Bookworm Reviews https://horrorbookwormreviews.com/ - An unusual stone is found inside a deserted remote cave. It embellishes beauty as well as an unseen curse. It lies dormant and waits for its chosen one. - A holy tome shrouded in unusual markings, scriptures and secretive messages translates into pure evil and wickedness. - A monastery’s forbidden basement holds dark rumors of magic and necromancy. Upon further investigation, enhanced sacred writings of blasphemy chronicles a deadly risk for those who are lured within. Welcome to Howls from the Dark Ages, a medieval horror fiction anthology. Join the appointed curator to this Museum of Medieval Oddities as he provides a tour of castle predators, mercenaries driven by bloodlust and dark woods where ageless creatures are rumored to dwell. Editors P.L. McMillan & Solomon Forse have gathered a select group of armored authors and sword wielding storytellers to form a primitive skill like no other. The originality of blending horror with the Middle Ages is successfully achieved by talents such as Hailey Piper, Lindsey Ragsdale, Cody Goodfellow and Christopher O’Halloran among many other amazing members of the HOWL Society. An honorable mention must be made to Jessica Peter’s communal offering of unbelievable poetry. The forged bell tolls loudly with this codex as sounds of frightful foreboding fiction ring true. Dearest Reader, Go thy way and fare ye’ the casting out of demons and the mar of beauty within. Retain services to help defend thy king and castle against nightmarish hostile invaders. Behold giant cannibals that desire the taste for human flesh. Within these perverse yellowed parchments, Howls from the Dark Ages has something for every god fearing Lord and Lady. Your most loyal servant, Horror Bookworm Reviews.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Bandit

    The thing about Middle Ages is that it was already horrific enough. Most things about it – hence the dark ages. Ages away from the Enlightenment in so many ways. So as far as lending itself to genre fiction, it’s pretty much a gimmie. Still, to their credit, the authors in this anthology did a great job – the went far and wide, spanning continents and cultures, upturning conventions and making the build-in darkness shine with a new gleam. Did I love it? Not quite. I did appreciate it, though. I’ve The thing about Middle Ages is that it was already horrific enough. Most things about it – hence the dark ages. Ages away from the Enlightenment in so many ways. So as far as lending itself to genre fiction, it’s pretty much a gimmie. Still, to their credit, the authors in this anthology did a great job – the went far and wide, spanning continents and cultures, upturning conventions and making the build-in darkness shine with a new gleam. Did I love it? Not quite. I did appreciate it, though. I’ve been in a strange mood lately where it’s difficult to gauge my reading desires precisely. I figured this might do the trick and it didn’t. Trying to stay objective enough to separate it into what is and what isn’t the books’ direct fault. The stories took me a while to get into, not until number four, in fact, did it pique my interest properly. The overall quality was solid, with a few gems here and there, the titles of which promptly left my mind as these things are wont to do. Mostly unknown authors from what sounds like a really fun publishing collective. Out of the knowns, there was Goodfellow, Evenson. Buehlman (the man who needs no introduction) provides the introduction. It stands to mention that as far as anthologies go, this one is put together awesomely. It’s lovingly curated like a museum exhibit with a brief wink-wink-nudge-nudge intro and an artwork preceding each entry. Even every contributor gets drawn for the author’s bio section. Very cute. So, didn’t quite sing for me. Maybe not the right era, Maybe not the right mood. But interesting and entertaining in its own right. Won’t send you howling with joy, but won’t send the villagers with pitchforks after it either. Thanks Netgalley. This and more at https://advancetheplot.weebly.com/

  21. 5 out of 5

    Nicole

    You had me at medieval horror, ha. I was thrilled to receive an ARC of this collection from HOWL Society, and I'm glad to say it was just as good as I was hoping it would be! Overall, a really solid collection of stories. My favorites were "Palette" by J.K. Kiefer; "Brother Cornelius" by Peter Ong Cook; "The Mouth of Hell" by Cody Goodfellow; and my absolute favorite "A Dark Quadrivium" by David Worn. Besides the stories themselves, I loved the framing device of the reader being shown exhibits i You had me at medieval horror, ha. I was thrilled to receive an ARC of this collection from HOWL Society, and I'm glad to say it was just as good as I was hoping it would be! Overall, a really solid collection of stories. My favorites were "Palette" by J.K. Kiefer; "Brother Cornelius" by Peter Ong Cook; "The Mouth of Hell" by Cody Goodfellow; and my absolute favorite "A Dark Quadrivium" by David Worn. Besides the stories themselves, I loved the framing device of the reader being shown exhibits in a museum of frightening artifacts. And the historical artwork/portraits of the authors and artists at the end was a treat! I'd recommend this collection to any horror fan, and especially any interested in historical or medieval horror.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Megan

    A great collection of stories. I recently read Between Two fires by Buehlman, so seeing his name attached to this was an instant draw. Medieval horror is quickly becoming one of my favorite genres, and each of these stories is great addition to that. A great mix of religious themes, fantasy, gore, and lots of humor. The stories that stood out to me were The Crowing (great worldbuilding in just a few pages!), A Dowry For Your Hand, and The Final Book of Sainte Foy's Miracles, though every story w A great collection of stories. I recently read Between Two fires by Buehlman, so seeing his name attached to this was an instant draw. Medieval horror is quickly becoming one of my favorite genres, and each of these stories is great addition to that. A great mix of religious themes, fantasy, gore, and lots of humor. The stories that stood out to me were The Crowing (great worldbuilding in just a few pages!), A Dowry For Your Hand, and The Final Book of Sainte Foy's Miracles, though every story was enjoyable! *thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for the advanced copy!*

  23. 5 out of 5

    Christi Nogle

    Howls from the Dark Ages offers a visceral assortment of medieval horror and dark fantasy stories from eighteen passionate new and established authors. I thoroughly enjoyed this anthology, which read like a gruesome sequel to The Canterbury Tales!

  24. 4 out of 5

    Catharine

    First I'd like to thank The HOWL Society for reaching out and letting me read this in exchange for an honest review. This book is everything you want in medieval horror AND MORE! I never knew how obsessed I was with medieval horror until I finished this book and was surprisingly sad it was over...I just wanted MORE! Howls From the Dark Ages starts out with an amazing forward by Christopher Buehlman, author of Between Two Fires, a staple to the medieval horror genre. You get to learn a little of First I'd like to thank The HOWL Society for reaching out and letting me read this in exchange for an honest review. This book is everything you want in medieval horror AND MORE! I never knew how obsessed I was with medieval horror until I finished this book and was surprisingly sad it was over...I just wanted MORE! Howls From the Dark Ages starts out with an amazing forward by Christopher Buehlman, author of Between Two Fires, a staple to the medieval horror genre. You get to learn a little of his process when writing, and then before you know it the book starts. I really enjoyed how this book is setup. There are a number of short stories, each by different authors with different writing styles, shown to the reader as a "museum tour" of sorts. Each story was delightful to read, but some definitely stand out more than others. Unlike some short story compilations, I did not feel like any of these stories were lacking (or skipable/boring/etc). There were quite a few I wanted MORE from! They are lovely little vignettes that you can easily read one right to the next, or as a "break" or "treat" for having a little time off. All in all, this is wonderful book if you want to read some creepy, sometimes gory, sometimes psychological, always horror stories all set in the medieval time period. I did not realize how much I would enjoy this piece, and I cannot wait for the next one. Even the author biographies and their illustrations all fit well into this piece, and I am excited to see what's next! Incredibly well done !!!

  25. 5 out of 5

    Gloria

    Disclaimer - I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. With a range of ideas, cultures, and curiosities, Howls from the Dark Ages takes the reader back through time and puts the real DARK in dark ages. Accompanying each story is an equally curious and intriguing illustration of an object from that story, tying the whole anthology together as a fanciful tour through an ominous museum. Ranging from the expected medieval age of England where monks find themselves confined to mo Disclaimer - I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. With a range of ideas, cultures, and curiosities, Howls from the Dark Ages takes the reader back through time and puts the real DARK in dark ages. Accompanying each story is an equally curious and intriguing illustration of an object from that story, tying the whole anthology together as a fanciful tour through an ominous museum. Ranging from the expected medieval age of England where monks find themselves confined to monasteries where devils disguise themselves as angels and forbidden loves are struck down by mysterious glowing mushrooms, to Irish mercenaries accepting a well earned drink at a feast that may lead to even more bloodshed, and an arranged marriage haunted by the ghost of a jilted lover. Each story is more dark and mysterious than the last and there is something for every horror reader, whether you enjoy ghosts, monsters, or just plain murder. It was also refreshing to see great queer representation in this collection, as well as having a look at the medieval time period in different countries and cultures around the world. Howls from the Dark Ages is an entertaining and frightening read, and the inclusion of the museum tour guide and the dark illustrations ties everything together beautifully.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Francisco

    Howls From the Dark Ages [Blurb goes here] Most anthologies give you a few good stories and a bunch of bad ones. Reading Howls From the Dark Ages, I was thrilled. Great short fiction from start to finish. I have to say that I enjoyed it to no end. This is one of those rare compendiums where the reader gets to savor each and every adventure, all different from each other. I'm really glad I got this free copy. It was worth it, beginning to end. Howls From the Dark Ages [Blurb goes here] Most anthologies give you a few good stories and a bunch of bad ones. Reading Howls From the Dark Ages, I was thrilled. Great short fiction from start to finish. I have to say that I enjoyed it to no end. This is one of those rare compendiums where the reader gets to savor each and every adventure, all different from each other. I'm really glad I got this free copy. It was worth it, beginning to end.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Milly Reynolds

    Where to begin? Such a varied selection of tales touching on body horror, fear of religion, good and evil, Heaven and Hell. Eighteen tales all woven together by a narrator who leads us through this museum of the macabre. That touch, that, for me, was brilliant. So which tales did I enjoy the most? The Crowing was an excellent way to start the anthology - full of fantasy and betrayal. I loved Palette, the mixture of beauty and body horror - superb. For horror, Brother Cornelius. The Final Book of Where to begin? Such a varied selection of tales touching on body horror, fear of religion, good and evil, Heaven and Hell. Eighteen tales all woven together by a narrator who leads us through this museum of the macabre. That touch, that, for me, was brilliant. So which tales did I enjoy the most? The Crowing was an excellent way to start the anthology - full of fantasy and betrayal. I loved Palette, the mixture of beauty and body horror - superb. For horror, Brother Cornelius. The Final Book of Sainte Foy's Miracles - all about a mischievous saint. I think my favourite was The Forgotten Valley - the legend of the spear and desire. There was not one story that left me disappointed and to end with The Lai of the Danse Macabre, it was like that After Eight mint at the end of a meal - a perfect ending to a sumptuous feast.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Donnie

    A thrilling collection that pulls no punches, HOWLS FROM THE DARK AGES returns the reader to the point in history when the human misery index was at an all time high and had me in a constant state of horror and somber reflection. How much have we progressed? Seek the answers within.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Ed Otto

    I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Take a journey through a museum of horror and history. Explore a collection where every item has a terrifying tale to tell. A helmet speaks of a place that was hell on earth. A saint statue makes you question the difference between an angel and a demon. Every one of these eighteen exhibits is sure to leave you wondering what lurks in the dark. The HOWL (Horror Obsessed Writing and Literature) Society’s debut anthol I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Take a journey through a museum of horror and history. Explore a collection where every item has a terrifying tale to tell. A helmet speaks of a place that was hell on earth. A saint statue makes you question the difference between an angel and a demon. Every one of these eighteen exhibits is sure to leave you wondering what lurks in the dark. The HOWL (Horror Obsessed Writing and Literature) Society’s debut anthology is as amazing as it is scary. I find in most short fiction anthologies there are one or two standout tales, while the rest are simply mediocre. However, in “Howls from the Dark Ages” there are no duds. Every story has merit and is a creepy joy to read through. For me, there was not a story worth skipping or skimming through. I appreciated the museum-framing device found between stories. It made it feel like loosely connected stories sharing a theme, and instead of a whole piece. I also was thrilled to see that while the majority of the tales focused on Europe, there were other places represented. The Americas a few as did Asia. After all, they both existed during the so-called “dark ages.” The representation was a surprise, but definitely, an appreciated one. Every story takes about twenty minutes to read through, making this book a rather quick read. Great for if you only have a short time to read or if you are looking to spend an evening with an awesome book. If this is their debut anthology, then I am excited to see where the HOWL Society goes next.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Shania McCain

    I loved this book SO much. From the foreword by Christopher Buehlman to the beautiful epic poem ending. I really enjoyed the idea of having a museum curator lead you to each of the stories as you discover different story related relics in the collection- it was very reminiscent of Tales from the Crypt! Each of the stories were accompanied by neat illustrations of an important object in the story, which added an extra touch that I really appreciated. You can tell that they wanted this book to be I loved this book SO much. From the foreword by Christopher Buehlman to the beautiful epic poem ending. I really enjoyed the idea of having a museum curator lead you to each of the stories as you discover different story related relics in the collection- it was very reminiscent of Tales from the Crypt! Each of the stories were accompanied by neat illustrations of an important object in the story, which added an extra touch that I really appreciated. You can tell that they wanted this book to be as polished as possible, and they achieved that goal by far. As for the stories themselves...wow! You have cosmic horror, body horror, creature horror, good witches and bad witches, evil queens, magic, queer characters, settings outside of Europe, satisfying retribution, and of course your knights in shining armor. There was even some unexpected humor thrown in, in the absolute best way possible. My favourite stories were: -Schizzare by Bridget D. Brave which involved a mysterious mushroom that was considered to bind the fates of two monks- one secretly desperately in love with the other. It granted the wish of the lovelorn monk, but not exactly in the way he had hoped. Beguiling, heartbreaking, and mystical. -A Dowry for your Hand by Michelle Tang which was set in ancient China and involved a nearly arranged marriage cut short due to the ever so haunted past of the suitor. The way the author utilizes human senses drew me in all the way and painted such a vivid picture. Haunting, ethereal, and satisfying. -White Owl by Stevie Edwards which was disgusting on so many levels- I almost thought I'd have to stop at one point from the body horror alone. This piece told the too familiar tale of violence against women, but also celebrated the magic in inner strength and the power of retribution. Disgusting, enchanting, and gratifying.

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