“The ground had opened up and spit out hell and the detritus was Shiloh.”
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 the spilling of blood brings not only death, but eternal damnation.
A stunning horror novella from a new Master of the Weird and the Fantastic.
The last time I read a book set in the Civil War, I was in sixth grade and it was Gone with the Wind. To be honest, I never expected, especially within the horror genre, to revisit that place. Much to my surprise, Philip Fracassi’s Shiloh took me back to that battlefield, and not in a bad way.
Shiloh revisits the battle of the same name, through the eyes of Henry and his twin brother, William. Together, the two boys–they really aren’t much more than that–see firsthand the horrors of war. From ghastly wounds and gory scenes, to the most depraved of human actions, Fracassi paints a vivid, terrifying image of war. He even takes it a step further, bringing in demons and angels for a twisted story of damnation.
Despite its short length, Fracassi manages to give readers a clear image of who Henry, the narrator, is. We know he loves his brother dearly, that he truly believes in the Confederate cause, that he is a godless heathen, and that he has much to learn about the consequences of war. William, on the other hand, isn’t as fleshed out–though some readers may feel a small connection to him based purely on Henry’s own feelings.
Shiloh is the second novella I’ve read from Fracassi, and while I don’t find it to be a five skull read, it was entertaining enough with its beautiful prose and imagery to keep me hooked. I look forward to reading more of Fracassi’s work.
This book is an Indie Horror Book Awards submission. As a 2018 judge, I received a free copy from the author and/or publisher to read and review. The above text is my true and unbiased opinion.