Friday, 26 August 2011

Who reigns over this region of the dead?

Check out THIS - a rather nifty YouTube trailer for my next novella, KING DEATH, which is due out in December from the excellent SPECTRAL PRESS, but can be ordered right now.

(Look to my earlier posts for the cover artwork; the trailer is by Mark West, who has done a very fine job indeed).

Without giving too much away, KING DEATH is set in England during the early 14th Century, a land utterly devastated by the Black Death - so be prepared for some scenes of blood-chillling horror drawn from that real-life catastrophe. But that's only the start of it. The supernatural is at work in this tale as well, not to mention plenty of human depravity.

I don't want to say any more, but in a time when all law, faith and culture have collapsed, who knows what may come slinking in to fill the void?

Nothing good, that's for sure.

For those not quite in the know, the Black Death first struck England in 1348, after ravaging much of Europe and Asia. It is still regarded as the most devastating pandemic in human history. In England alone, an incredible 70% of the population is believed to have perished. It wasn't just the peasantry who were affected. Kings died in their palaces, bishops in their cathedrals, and barons in their manor houses. Entire towns and villages were left bare of life ... except for the overpopulous black rats, who spread the illness in the first place, and are still the stuff of nightmares as we picture them swarming triumphant over piles of human corpses.

Not surprisingly for a superstitious age, there are many tales of terror associated with this disaster. Stories abounded that a poisonous black fog was drifting across the land, annihilating everything in its path. Witches and sorcerers were blamed. A gateway was said to have been opened to Hell. The plague was even portrayed in the form of a ...

But no. Enough spoilers. You need to buy the book to know more.

(The above image is a detail from Peter Bruegel's horrific masterpiece, THE TRIUMPH OF DEATH. It charts the advance of Death upon Man in general terms, though because it takes a distinctly medieval perspective, it is often depicted as an illustration of the Black Death).

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