[Daniel Mills] ñ Revenants [fae PDF] Read Online ☆ Well written and atmospheric The story involves a series of creepy events in a remote colonial New England town the action takes place shortly after King Philip s War, the bloody conflict between the settlers and the native Americans in the late 1600s The setting is very convincing, but we re never hit over the head with colonial New England we re just there Mills s prose is excellent and contains many memorable moments, such as this is a true wilderness, a place of permanent eclipse and ghost like images with points of dusk for eyes Overall the novel is filled with rich imagery and a thick atmosphere of eeriness and repression My only criticism is that there is a bit of an excess of descriptive passages they are all very nicely done, but the book would have been better off with fewer of them Definitely recommended for those with an interest in the time period and or those who enjoy literature with a pervasive sense of the spooky and strange.
Would your tenth grade English class have beenenjoyable if The Scarlet Letter was a better written book Probably One can only hope that someday Dan Mills s Revenants A Dream of New England will replace The Scarlet Letter, and show young minds what literature can really do.
The Scarlet Letter was innovative and inventive, to be sure, but by any discerning standard it is poorly written Characterizations are flat, action and insight are told and barely shown, and most of the events that are important to the narrative occur outside the confines of the pages When he describes what happens, Hawthorne is a powerful wordsmith, but Not Much Happens.
In Revenants, Dan Mills creates a fully realized world, far richer andcaptivating than Hawthorne s empty Boston Most importantly, Mills fills that world with real people These are people with histories, nuances, deep desires, and ancient guilts They are a people of early America, and they are also you and your neighbor Most importantly, once this vivid world and characters are in place things HAPPEN Disappearances, strange sightings, adventures, heroic and desperate acts with consequences.
A third of the way into the book, a series of events forces the men of the village to enter the woods Hawthorne s woods are only a barely realized symbol and Mills s woods are also a place where our own passions and evils follow us and gain voice and misty reality but these are woods so clearly and powerful drawn that you will scarce believe that your chair is still under you You will wade through a frigid October bog, you will scramble between the sodden fir trees and when the characters encounter terrors, be they imagined or real, you will know them yourself.
Revenants is a challenging book It is at times slow, ponderous, and endlessly descriptive The horrors arelike a deep burn than a sharp cut But if you invest yourself in this book s world, you will learn something of fatherhood, something of passion, and you will knowfully how our actions must shape us, not our lifelong guilts or fears You will gain and then lose sympathy for characters, you will admire the fallen, and you might encounter your own revenant.
The Year IsSituated On The Northern Boundary Of The Massachusetts Bay Colony, The Town Of Cold Marsh Is A Place Of Secrets, A Village Characterized By Repression And Guilt Fourteen Years Have Passed Since The Outbreak Of King Philip S War And Darkness Has Come To The Cold Marsh Two Of The Town S Young Women Have Vanished Under Mysterious Circumstances, And The Country Seethes With Rumors Of Witchcraft And Devilry Even Their God Has Abandoned Them When A Third Young Woman Disappears, The Men Of The Village Determine To Leave The Safety Of The Village And Enter The Other World Of The Woods In Search Of Her Revenants Is A Lyrical Evocation Of The Colonial Landscape, A Poetic Meditation On The Hills And Wilds Of That Vanished Country It Also Brings Back To Life, With Breathing Intimacy, The Inner Landscape Of Sombre Repression Known To The Settlers Of New England Daniel Mills is a writer who is fast becoming a favorite here at The Arkham Digest In previous reviews of A Season In Carcosa and Fungi, I found both of his stories MS Found Dead in A Hotel Room and Dust From a Dark Flower to be among the finest in either anthology Also recently I picked up a copy of The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror 23, and seeing that Mills had a story published in there I read it straight away The Photographer s Tale was everything I had come to expect from the author another unsettling period piece with wonderful prose In the last couple years Mills has hit the scene running, and has been putting out stories that read like they ve been written by a weird literature veteran.
As much as I ve been enjoying his short fiction, imagine my delight when the opportunity arose to review Revenants, his first novel As Mr Mills pointed out to me in correspondence, Revenants was published last year by Chomu Press, and while pulling in some good literary reviews, it seemed to lack some exposure within the genre community That s a shame too, because Revenants deserves to be read by any fan of weird, historical fiction.
Revenants is a story about Cold Marsh, a colonial town in 1689 New England Typical of most towns of the time, it is strictly Puritan The novel follows a few characters and their experiences when a third young lady, Ruth, mysteriously goes missing from the isolated town The story mostly follows a few characters Ruth s father James, her betrothed Edwin, Edwin s father William, Ruth s mother Constance, and the reverend Isaiah Bellringer Each character is flawed, and has his her own secrets Many of them are filled with regret, and what they perceive as their past sins some rightly so haunts them.
The plot follows the men as they split into groups and strike out into the dark wilderness in search of Ruth Their individual past deeds haunt them as a mysterious force in the woods grants each of them separate visions, causing all of them to have a crisis of a faith The plot takes a bit to get started, taking it s time to establish the characters and their relationships between each other When everything finally comes together in the end, and certain revelations are made, the novel ends exactly the way it should.
The character s themselves are difficult, and Mills is accomplished at making each of them interesting, if only a few of them likeable William Brewer is perhaps the most likeable throughout the book, and the only one who seems to truly seek redemption for his past sins James has made some wrong choices, but his downfall is mostly the way he handles dealing with them Edwin is perhaps the character who elicits the biggest change as we see him make some of the same mistakes some of the elders have in their past.
The weird elements of the book tend to besubtle, and while there aren t many scenes of hair raising horror, the mood and tone of the book remain eerie and melancholy throughout I found the biggest horrors of the book to be the people themselves, and the Puritan way of thinking as opposed to the weird elements The attitude of the townsfolk and how easily some of them are led is quite scary, and Mills drives the point home throughout the novel.
Their stifling, rigid attitude about sex especially, which is so completely different from today s view that modern readers such as myself find it downright disturbing The ease in which the people of the time would do terrible things at the behest of their firebrand religious leaders is an aspect that I find especially terrifying.
Revenants has a good, if simple plot, and interesting characters, but where it truly shines is the language Mills uses The back cover describes the book as a poetic meditation on the colonial landscape of New England, the hills and wilds of a vanished country This description is accurate, and Mills is quite at home taking his time describing the landscape He paints a beautiful, eerie portrait of a town in isolation, surrounded by deep, dark woods and stagnant, rotting bogs In reading it I could picture it perfectly, could even smell the forests, and I enjoyed his evocation of place just as much as seeing the plot come together.
Although the book tends to move at a somewhat slow pace, and seems to take awhile for the plot to kick into gear, I enjoyed every page Some might find it a bit too slow for their liking, maybe a bit longer than it should be, and skimpy on the weird supernatural elements, but I found that these few small criticisms are just that small nitpickings and nothingThis novel didn t need to be as overtly weird as his short stories, because the important things are the characters themselves, how they dealt with regret, and how they got along through a dark time in history Never have I seen the harsh coldness of colonial times depicted so strongly.
Revenants is a moody novel, and is all fog and melancholy Anyone looking for a strange, literate, gloomy and atmospheric book will find a lot to like I d definitely recommend this book to anyone with an interested in colonial period pieces There is just enough weird and horror there to satisfy genre readers, and not too much there to scare off non genre readers With this novel Daniel Mills further cements himself as a great new voice in the world of the weird I for one can t wait to see what he does next originally appeared on my blog, The Arkham Digest.
Revenants takes place in late 1600s New England, in a small, isolated town of Cold Marsh Three women have disappeared and the minister and most residents fear the devil is loose in the surrounding woods Old sins individual and societal return to haunt each of the inhabitants Mills has the patience to slowly build the large cast of characters toward a climax that is both inevitable and still shocking If not for some of the harsher,violent details that emerge that Mills wisely choose to not gloss over and show the reader , this read like a book that easily could ve been written during Hawthorne s time An atmospheric, pensive, and impressive debut novel by Mills.
I ve been lucky enough to share a few ToCs with Daniel Mills, which is where I was first introduced to his work, though I ve been hearing his name coming from authors of weird and supernatural fiction for a little while now I ve loved everything I ve read from him, and quickly found myself looking forward to each new thing I ran across That said, it took me longer than it probably should have to pick up his debut novel, though now that I finally have I can say without hesitation that it s every bit as good as the hype, and better than I d dared hope.
A restrained tale of past sins and the haunting power of the untamed wilderness, Revenants reads like Hawthorne by way of Blackwood, while at the same time being 100% Mills It s an accomplished debut that made me frequently shake my head and think, Man, I wish I was that good, which is about the highest praise I can give.
This is a beautifully written book about regret and atonement Told through the eyes of many characters as they search for a missing girl in the feared realm of the woods As the search goes on and time seems to be running out, some begin to crack under the pressure, others rise up, but they will all be haunted with the ghosts of their past deeds Revenants is poetic in it s descriptions and the story is an interesting one but I m left with many questions and I would have traded poetry for answers.
I really like the intensity of atmosphere the author created Although the story takes place in the late 1600 s I feel it has a message for now.
I started the book a couple of weeks ago read the first chapter and put it down and almost gave up on it I read a couple of other things, quite outstanding other things, and thought to myself why go back and read a book I am not enjoying.
Well here s the story I started the book over again If there was a contest between the first fifty or sixty pages of this book and watching paint dry, the paint would win Ok, we get it, life was rough back then and people were not the brightest farming implements under Satin s Sun, and fire and brimstone were the law of the day for the ordinary folks who toiled in the fields all day in order to just survive.
The author uses these first bunch of pages to set the scene for us Had I not read Mr Mill s fantastic book of short stories, I would not have known what he was capable of creating And then around page sixty or sixty five, something happens and the story takes off I know that all the folks that gave this book such high praise could not all be wrong But lat s face it the book is two hundred and ninety pages and sixty plus of them can be used in the out house, I must reserve my praise Perhaps Mr Mill s forte is the short story.
Beautifully written, deeply engaging story of a small, colonial New England town haunted by the weight of its own brief past The narrative moves through the perspectives of several key characters as a string of disappearances leads to the slow unfurling of the town s secrets The aesthetic of Puritanism stands in embattled opposition to the abiding terrors of the dark woods, those surrounding the town and those in each man s and woman s soul Smart, atmospheric, and elegant Highly recommended.