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4.0 out of 5 stars Historical horrors, 17 April 2012
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This review is from: Medi-Evil 1 (A collection of historical terror and fantasy) (Kindle Edition)
The first book I actually read on my Kindle, I bought these books as I had read several superb short tales by Paul Finch in the Black Books of Horror series.
The three tales here cover separate periods of history and all reflect times when the nations concerned were in turmoil and when life was relatively cheap.

The opener "The Blood Month" concerns two brothers, both Viking warriors who have converted to Christianity. Fleeing their country after their leader is killed in battle they head across the sea to Greenland where their uncle has settled. However, they find that although their uncle grudgingly accepts them the settlement has been under attack by some unseen force that kills at random and quite savagely.
The build up is well plotted as the brothers aim to prove that just because they are Christians they are not pacifists and when one of the killings makes the threat more personal they decide to track down the killer.
The only downside to this collection is the ending to this first tale when the real killer is revealed, it wasn't quite what I was hoping for.

"Flibbertigibbet" is an excellent tale set in Elizabethan England as the Queen's spymaster Sir Francis Walsingham Elizabeth's Spy Master : Francis Walsingham and the secret war that saved England [ Spymaster ] "persuades" retired spycatcher Robert Urmston to take on one more case, to track down a maniac who has been murdering and disembowelling women in London. The opening scenes are quite brutal set against the backdrop of the execution of Edmund Campion Edmund Campion who was hung, drawn and quartered in 1581.
The story is laced with plenty historical background of a time in English history when changes between Catholic and Protestant monarchs who ruthlessly persecuted the opposing faiths leaving deep scars in the memories of many of the country's great families. The story invokes the Inquisition who were renowned for their tortures, supposedly in the name of God, but as the story reveals our home grown religious fanatics could be just as evil.
You may guess the identity of the killer but that doesn't detract from what is a great medieval blood spattered whodunnit.

"The Gods of Green And Grey" is my favourite of these tales. A group of Roman warriors accompany a surveyor who has been tasked with mapping out the Fenlands. They take on a guide who happens to be from the Iceni and several of the soldiers still recall tales of the cruelty meted out to their forebears when the Iceni's former leader Boudicca fought the Roman invaders.
When they find the group who were supposed to meet them have been slain and one man taken prisoner they head off deep into the fens to track the killers down. The killers are definitely not what you would expect and harken back to long forgotten legsnds.
The ending is quite violent and has some nice dark twists that fit in well with the personalities of the two main Romans.

I bought all three of Paul Finch's Medi-Evil books on the strength of his Black Books tales and his script for The Devil's Rock Devil's Rock [DVD] so far they are more than living up to my expectations.
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I. R. Kerr
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Location: Lancashire

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