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Revenants, by Daniel Mills Book Review | SFReader.com
Revenants, by Daniel Mills Genre: Alternate History Publisher: Chomu Press Published: 2011 Review Posted: 10/13/2013 Reviewer Rating:
Reader Rating: Not Rated
Revenants, by Daniel Mills
Book Review by Michael D. Griffiths
Have you read this book?
Revenants by Daniel Mills is a fascinating novel. Pre-colonial New England is
the backdrop for this rich and moody tale. Personally being from Massachusetts
and having read more than a bit of Hawthorne and other classic New England
authors, I would have to say Mills captures the feeling of these early American
novels. His work is an obvious tip of the hat to Hawthorne and is done well.
The members of the isolated town of Cold Marsh have cut a home out of the stark
lonely forest after following their minster Bellringer into the wilds. Life has
never been easy for the small town's inhabitants. Just a generation ago, they
were forced to commit genocide with the Native American tribe that had once
been their friends and allies. Most of the town's men were hiding from dark
pasts, even before this horrible massacre and a shadow of dread hangs over Cold
Marsh and lurks in the forest which surrounds the small patch of humanity.
The clinging fear the village suffers from only increases when some of their
young women go missing. One is found drowned, while another has just seemed to
have vanished within the endless forest. When young Ruth, the girl promised to
marry Edwin, disappears the town has experienced enough and mobilizes to find
her. Despite the small hope of success and the inherent dangers of the
encroaching woods, three teams of men set off to find the missing girl.
The groups are led by Ruth's father, James, Edwin, and Edwin's father William.
Each of these men must confront not only the outer forest, but their tangled
inner forest as well. William is a forthright and strong man, but has seen the
horror of war and knows that his actions in these past conflicts have left a
dark mark on his soul. James is barely keeping his sanity intact after the loss
of his only child and is willing to go to any lengths to insure her return,
even if it means making an alliance with the dark forces that have claimed her.
Edwin learns more that he might have wished about the sins of his father when a
lone and mutilated native is discovered.
Each of these men must battle themselves as much as the harsh environment they
have plunged into while they seek poor lost Ruth. The hopelessness of their
task mixes with the hopelessness of their chances at redemption. Soon violence
and insanity may end up being the only ones victorious.
Mills paints an ominous picture of pre-American New England. He seeks to
capture the feel of our country's earliest writers and pulls it off with great
skill. It is a bleak time, without much light and limited choices for those
that struggle to survive on the threatening new continent. The stark realities
of puritan living are illustrated well, along with the superstitious fears that
cursed those times.
This is a fine and enjoyable novel, but if one had to find criticisms they
could include a few places were the book had gaps that left the reader
wondering what really happened. Others parts, although well written, were
Overall this is a fine novel that would be enjoyable to both fans of horror and
historical fiction readers alike. Mills sets off to perform the difficult task
of writing in the style of authors that lived centuries ago and succeeds. I
look forward to getting a copy of his next project.
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