epiphany_maria (epiphany_maria) wrote,

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Book Reviews: The Devil's Ark + She Walks In Shadows, part 1

The Devil’s Ark by Stephen Bywater
In 1930 Iraq, Ward a veteran of the Great War is looking for something to do with his life after the war drove him to his darkest place as a person. In between soliloquies of pain Ward recounts how he got a job as a photographer on a dig site. There he was subject to relentless psychologically intimidation, portentousness and baroque disquisitions about what lies in the ancient temple the dig has unearthed.

Overriding natural instincts people keep digging, not for an unfettered inquiry into the Assyrian past but for blind veneration of profit. Ward soon has total conviction that a repulsive individual from the deep past is buried in the temple but can he get any of his slightly repellent co-workers to believe him? Does Ward have full subjectivity? What is the consensus reality?

People go on rapturous, contradictory and inaccurate tirades. Ward’s intellectual disturbance grows. Volatile issues are addressed as understanding, knowledge and disgusting inner corruption grow. There is little room for sentiment as things get increasingly fanatic. This is a louche okay tale of how with almost causal ease, evil and grotesquerie can creep up on you.

Best Lines:
“Their morality - if you can call it that - was different from our own.”

“They hated weakness.”
“As much as they hated compassion.”

“This was an ancient civilization in crisis, operating under a fearful irrationality.”

“Behaved strangely in teashops.”

She Walks In Shadows, edited by Silvia Moreno-Garcia & Paula R. Stiles, part 1
A female centric Lovecraftian anthology.

Ammutseba Rising
A clunky poem.

Turn Out The Light
A tale of Lovecraft’s mother becoming disassociated from reality. Okay.

Bring The Moon To Me
A short good creepy tale of a worker on the Apollo program and the sheer ordinariness of her silent bleak evil.

Violet Is The Colour Of Your Energy
A farm wife must deal with immensely difficult things when her husband goes mad. Very good.

De Deabus Minoribus Exteriors Theomagicae
A woman reads a pagan grimoire and people die awfully. This was excellent.
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