Published by Lovecraft eZine Press on April 25, 2018
Genres: Dark Fiction, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Horror, Paranormal, Psychological Horror, Southern Gothic, Supernatural
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For two days in the year 1862, the bloodiest battle of the American Civil War held theatre in southern Tennessee – a patch of land called Shiloh. Thousands of soldiers on both sides of the conflict lost their lives, and tens of thousands more were badly injured.
For twin brothers Henry and William, infantry soldiers in the Confederate Army, the battle held more than the horrors of war. It was a portal to something beyond mankind, where demons tread and angels fly, where the spilling of blood brings not only death, but eternal damnation.
"In SHILOH, Fracassi's powerful, precise writing immerses the reader in the savage brutality of a Civil War battle – an exquisitely harrowing precursor to the strange horror of the tale. A masterful, mad charge into the weird." – Jeffrey Ford
This edition also includes the bonus tale "Soda Jerk - A Sabbath Story"!
SHILOH is the second novella I have read by author Philip Fracassi. The paperback version of this includes a bonus story, “Soda Jerk”. SHILOH follows the adventures of twin brothers–Henry and William–during two days of fighting for the Confederacy in the American Civil War.
“. . . War has a way of pulling wallflowers off the paper, forcing them into a garden, stuck there to live or die.”
In this brutal and gory battle, I was surprised at how often Fracassi’s prose came off as almost poetic in nature. Despite the carnage and maiming all around them, the closeness of the brothers shines out strong–strong enough that you know with certainty that either man would lay his life on the line for the other. Yet these soldiers are under no false illusions of the grandeur of war; they accept whatever fate awaits them with a heart-breaking simplicity.
“. . . No point begging to an almighty being if we all ended equal. In the dirt . . .”
The atmosphere is painted true, yet even with the horrors upon them, the words glow with deep meaning.
“. . . All of it is filtered in shadow, the feel of the dying dawn . . . “
I can’t give away any further details of the story, only urge others to pick it up and see what it’s all about. Some of the comments made really had me mentally take a step back to ruminate on what was being expressed.
“. . . You don’t wash with another man’s blood and expect to get clean.”
Overall, a solid story with strong characters, emotions, and that special “something else” that makes this novella so unique.
“. . . in a room full of gold even the most trustworthy have sly pockets and silver tongues.”
The bonus story, “Soda Jerk”, is a tale from the town of Sabbath–a place I’d like to read more about in the future.