Andersonvilleby Edward M. Erdelac (Website, Facebook, Twitter)
Published by Hydra on August 18, 2015
Genres: Adult, Alternate History, Historical, Historical Retelling, Horror, Paranormal
Source: TLC Book Tours
Amazon • Book Depository • Goodreads
I received this book for free from TLC Book Tours in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Readers of Stephen King and Joe Hill will devour this bold, terrifying new novel from Edward M. Erdelac. A mysterious man posing as a Union soldier risks everything to enter the Civil War’s deadliest prison—only to find a horror beyond human reckoning.
Georgia, 1864. Camp Sumter, aka Andersonville, has earned a reputation as an open sewer of sadistic cruelty and terror where death may come at any minute. But as the Union prisoners of war pray for escape, cursing the fate that spared them a quicker end, one man makes his way into the camp purposefully.
Barclay Lourdes has a mission—and a secret. But right now his objective is merely to survive the hellish camp. The slightest misstep summons the full fury of the autocratic commander, Captain Wirz, and the brutal Sergeant Turner. Meanwhile, a band of shiftless thieves and criminals known as the “Raiders” preys upon their fellow prisoners. Barclay soon finds that Andersonville is even less welcoming to a black man—especially when that man is not who he claims to be. Little does he imagine that he’s about to encounter supernatural terrors beyond his wildest dreams . . . or nightmares.
Advance praise for Andersonville
“The true story of Andersonville is one of unimaginable horror and human misery. It’s a testament to his unmatched skill as a storyteller that Edward M. Erdelac is not only able to capture that horror but to add another level of supernatural terror and reveal that the darkest evil of all resides in the human soul. Highly recommended to fans of horror and history alike.”—Brett J. Talley, Bram Stoker Award–nominated author of That Which Should Not Be and He Who Walks in Shadow
“Andersonville is a raw, groundbreaking supernatural knuckle-punch. Erdelac absolutely owns Civil War and Wild West horror fiction.”—Weston Ochse, bestselling author of SEAL Team 666
“Edward M. Erdelac is a master of historical reinvention. In Andersonville, he peels away the façade of history to reveal the horror and sacrifices that led to the end of the Civil War. Clandestine operations, mystical battles waged unseen, and unlikely heroes combine to save a nation, not only from itself but from the demonic forces threatening to tear the whole of existence asunder. Forget what you know about the War Between the States, this is the story we should have been taught.”—Tim Marquitz, author of the Demon Squad series
To continue my summer of horror reading schedule, the alternate historical fictional retelling of the Civil War prisoner camp Andersonville by Edward M. Erdelac was up next. The author’s extensive research into the conditions of this southern prisoner camp that held Northern soldiers in deplorable conditions would have made for an excellent non-fiction book, but he takes it into dark, supernatural depths that I absolutely love and thoroughly enjoy!
Barclay Lourdes sneaks onto a prison train bound for Andersonville, assuming the identity of one of the negro soldiers that has died on the train while on the way to the prison camp. While as a reader, you don’t know who Barclay is or why he must go to the camp for quite a few pages as his story is revealed slowly, the horrible conditions of such a place are vividly portrayed in the text in detail. You get to know all of the different people who work and reside within those walls as Barclay learns to navigate the different social strata within the confines. Barclay is a bit of an enigma himself–a black Union soldier who was never a slave, but yet he poses as one to uncover why the conditions are so deplorable in this prison camp. And when he discovers the truth, he’s in for the fight of his life.
The conditions and descriptions of Andersonville are very accurate. I could picture the emaciated soldiers practically stacked on top of one another, dirty and diseased with open wounds. It doesn’t make for a pretty picture, but it does make for a creepy back drop for an evil supernatural presence to grab hold. The characters in Andersonville are very layered and complicated–even the minor characters–and I really enjoyed that they weren’t two dimensional. This supenatural element wasn’t there from the start and it was slowly introduced, but you caught glimpses of it here and there. I really love subtle hints until it comes out full force.
I give Andersonville a four out of five. The oppressiveness, the horrible conditions, and the hopelessness of the Fort Sumter prisoner of war camp–they all show an accurate and thorough picture of what life was like for those soldiers in 1864 Georgia–with an added evil depth of supernatural forces at work in this book. The plotting was fast paced and the tension built quite nicely until it reached a fever pitch, and the ending was very satisfying. Overall, Andersonville leaves you questioning how much evil both men and devils do, and how much do men use the devil’s excuse for the things that they do. I highly recommend this book for history lovers as well as supernatural horror lovers.
About Edward M. Erdelac
EDWARD M. ERDELAC is the author of eight novels (including the acclaimed weird western series Merkabah Rider) and dozens of short stories. He is an independent filmmaker, award winning screenwriter, and sometime Star Wars contributor.
Born in Indiana, educated in Chicago, he resides in the Los Angeles area with his wife and a bona fide slew of children and cats.
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