Children of the Night by John F. Blackburn
Hardcover – Centipede Press – 2017
The old Yorkshire village of Dunstonholme hasn’t changed much since the time of the “troubles” some six-hundred and sixty-six years ago, when the bizarre cult, the Children of Paul, had tried to make it their own. The stories handed down told of brutal battles and gruesome slaughter, first the villagers; and then the sacking of Castle Dunstonholme, with the survivors put to the sword. All of this had been the result of the residents refusing to ferry the Children of Paul to the nearby Feyne Islands. After the battle, the cult had set out for what was to be their new settlement, but whether due to unruly seas or maritime inexperience, in a perfect turn of the karmic wheel the boats were all scuttled the crew and passengers all presumed lost at sea. Still, rumors persisted that some of the cultists had survived deep in the wooded areas of the Feynes. Despite the improbability of such things, the residents of Dunstonholme had long been in the habit of locking their doors at night.
And now an unsettling chain of events had occurred that caused the residents to re-think and re-evaluate the level of safety that they enjoyed. A ship explodes and sinks in mid-ocean taking all hands with it to a watery grave, with the eerie last-transmitted words of the radio operator: “There’s something down there…”; a long-time faithful servant rolls his charge’s wheelchair off the Dunstonholme cliffs, saying merely that “God told him to”; a farmer’s prize bull suddenly goes berserk, goring and trampling his master into an unrecognizable pulp; and an experienced caver spelunking in a very familiar locale is found dead, impaled on a stalagmite. Are these ominous events related? Indicative of the presence of a genius loci, or has a much worse ancient evil been awakened? If so, where does the carnage end?
This is a limited edition of 200 signed, numbered copies. Each copy is signed by Brian Evensong, who wrote the introduction, and Gahan Wilson, who provided the cover illustration.