by Terrance Mc Arthur
Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win a copy of Chapelwood, along with a link to purchase the book where a portion goes to help support KRL & an indie bookstore.
“Lizzie Borden took an ax
And gave her mother forty whacks,
When she saw what she had done,
She gave her father forty-one.”—folk rhyme
“Close the door, lock and latch it,
Here comes Lizzie with a brand new hatchet!”— Michael Brown
What if Lizzie Borden wasn’t a patricidal maniac with an axe? What if she was trying to save the world from the Old Gods who want to take over and destroy everything? What if there was a “church” trying to bring the return of these all-consuming creatures? What if a mathematician was using his computations to kill the chosen sacrifices to spoil those plans? If all those what-ifs were true, you’d have “Chapelwood,” by Cherie Priest.
It’s been thirty years since Lizzie did battle with the eldritch forces that were taking over her family. Her sister has died, her transformed friend is still missing, and townspeople look on her as a murderess. A girl promised to a church in Alabama gets married to a Catholic, a priest is murdered, people are hacked to death with an axe, the Ku Klux Klan (it seems) is running the town, and a portly investigator thinks something unusual is going on. Lizzie is reading hints of the story in New England. When she finds out that axes are involved, she knows that it’s time for her to get concerned.
Lizzie doesn’t get as much page-time as she did in Maplecroft, Priest’s first Borden Dispatches book, but this gives the reader a chance to get better acquainted with other characters. Ruth, the planned victim, has a confused-yet-resolute quality. Simon Wolf, the heavy detective, does much of the legwork, sweating in a Southern summer. Evil is rampant in the town, and it’s an ancient evil.
Things move slowly at first, typical of a long, hot, Deep South summer. When the confrontation with the forces of darkness happens, look out, folks. Pierce is a quirky writer whose fiction includes vampires and steampunk automatons. In Chapelwood, Lizzie Borden is a sixtyish lesbian.
[In writing this review, I challenged myself to avoid using one term. I shall now give up on that challenge.]
This book breathes deeply the mythos of H. P. Lovecraft, exhaling Cthulhu and the other eldritch gods into combat with a lady with an ax. Although I’m fond of the Lovecraftian pantheon, I know where I’d bet my money.
To enter to win a copy of Chapelwood, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “Chapelwood,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen December 19, 2015. U.S. residents only. If entering via email please include your mailing address.
Check out more fantasy book reviews in our fantasy and fangs section.
Use this link to purchase this book & a portion goes to help support KRL & indie bookstore Mysterious Galaxy: