Those Who Went Remain There Still. In place of divine intervention, the ersatz adventurers have got the ghost of Daniel Boone.
The story begins with Boone and a group of trailblazers cutting a road through the wilderness. Along the way they encounter a bird-like creature that terrorizes them by night, snatching men away one by one. This frontier horror tale unfolds interspersed with events in Kentucky of 1899, where the patriarch of two feuding families, the Coys and Manders, has died and estranged family members are summoned back for the reading of his will.
The two stories intertwine, of course. To receive the old man’s bounty, a chosen group of Coys and Manders must enter the forbidding and noxious Witch’s Cave to retreive his will. There, a horror waits that was not truly conquered by Boone and his band over a century before.
Priest weaves a unusual horror tale that is sort of Lovecraftian (in the sense of being firmly rooted in a particular place, and having “normal” men face horrors beyond their understanding) but mixes it with a definite Southern gothic feel. The basic plot could be inspiration for traditional Medieval fantasy, but the whole idea of frontier monster-slaying is perhaps even better.
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