Lourdes Barclay, a mysterious man posing as a black Union soldier, purposefully sneaks into Camp Sumter, aka Andersonville prison. He has a mission, a secret, and a vendetta, but he quickly realizes that his first priority is simply to survive his new hellish confines. He realizes, equally as fast, that nothing is quite as it seems.
Ruled by the mysterious Captain Wirz, tortured by the sadistic Sergeant Turner, and terrorized by the group of prisoners called the “raiders,” most soldiers pray for escape. Not Barclay. He sees that the suffering radiating from Andersonville is the result of more than just human evil.
Historically, Camp Sumter was filled with human misery beyond comprehension, yet Erdelac expertly adds a layer of the supernatural to great effect. This Civil War horror novel (if that’s not a genre, this novel can spearhead the effort) is thoughtful, Lovecraftian, and well researched. Although it’s not for the faint of heart—much of the horror is vividly described and based on fact—I would recommend this novel to fans of Stephen King, Dan Simmons, and alternate histories. It’s well paced, well plotted, and sure to make you cringe once or twice. You can’t ask for much more from a novel like this.
For those who may be hesitant to pick up a “horror” novel, I wanted to add there is nothing truly scary about this book in the fictional sense. Yes, there are secret societies, forces of good and evil, and a few hellhounds, but the real terror lies in the suffering of the soldiers. What makes that terrifying, for me, is that it happened, without the added demonic influences.
Do you find it harder to deal with horror that’s based in reality? While demonic forces are thankfully a bit far-fetched, the systematic torture of soldiers is not. The Terror by Dan Simmons is another good example of horrific historical events with a twist. You can win a copy of Andersonville by entering below.
*Cover snobs, a trait which I wholeheartedly possess, don’t judge this one too harshly. It’s good, I promise.