The people of Fall River, Massachusetts, fear me. Perhaps rightfully so. I remain a suspect in the brutal deaths of my father and his second wife despite the verdict of innocence at my trial. With our inheritance, my sister, Emma, and I have taken up residence in Maplecroft, a mansion near the sea and far from gossip and scrutiny. But it is not far enough from the affliction that possessed my parents. Their characters, their very souls, were consumed from within by something that left malevolent entities in their place. It originates from the ocean's depths, plaguing the populace with tides of nightmares and madness. This evil cannot hide from me. No matter what guise it assumes, I will be waiting for it. With an axe.
©2014 Cherie Priest (P)2014 Tantor
"Cherie Priest is supremely gifted and Maplecroft is a remarkable novel, simultaneously beautiful and grotesque. It is at once a dark historical fantasy with roots buried deep in real-life horror and a supernatural thriller mixing Victorian drama and Lovecraftian myth. You won't be able to put it down." ---Christopher Golden, author of Snowblind
Yes. I think it will become a yearly treat for the Halloween season.
Lizzie - she has this practical side, complete loyalty, and that axe.
They imbued the storyline with emotions, wonder, anger, pride, lust, sisterly love, etc. By the way, GoodReads says the two readers are Roger Wayne and Meredith Mitchell. Which is it?
It came from the deep, finding humans easily manipulated. That is until it met Lizzie's axe.
Lizzie Borden and her older, disabled sister Emma live in Fall River, Massachusetts. A few years back, they went through trying times when their parents died in an unexpected and rather gruesome manner. Despite the trial and a verdict of innocent, Lizzie is still treated with suspicion by the townsfolk. Hence, Emma and Lizzie moved to a manor house, Maplecroft, on the outskirts of town. While their parents may have been the first to succumb to a madness that originates from the depths of the sea, they are not the last. Hence, the need for Lizzie’s axe.
This tale was rich in character development and suspense. Indeed, I felt it shared a kinship with Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and Bram Stoker’s Dracula. The tale opens slowly as one becomes acquainted with Lizzie and Emma. The story is told through a series of journal entries and personal letters, giving the narration a very personal note. With each letter, each journal entry, we got another small glimpse that something wasn’t quite right. Emma, a renowned biologist (although she has to use a male pen name in this time period of late 1800s), studies the progression of the madness and ultimately the creatures themselves. Lizzie, having to take a more practical stand, has muscles gained from the need to swing an axe (for wood or defense), carry her disabled sister from room to room when she is ill, and the general running of a manor house. She doesn’t understand the evil madness but she vows to end it.
As we delve deeper into the story, we become more aware of the connection to the ocean and the madness – the great need for the water, the avoidance of bright light, the heavy desire to venture to the seashore. This is where tiny tendrils of Lovecraftian horror start to entangle themselves into the plot. The lengthy build up is worth the mystery as we gain further knowledge via the Fall River doctor and his strange encounters with the afflicted.
The tale also has a simple romance on the side. Let me say that one of the main characters is homosexual, and it is no big deal. Sure, some of the characters have time period views, but those views don’t permeate the story. It was very well done and so refreshing to see a main character, a full, well-rounded, character doing all these plot-oriented things, who just happens to also be gay.
I loved this book; didn’t want to put it away. I thoroughly enjoyed the build up of suspense and the bioscience. I liked that the center of the mystery was so vast and not completely discernible by the characters. I had the pleasure of hearing Priest talk about this book and about how she wasn’t too keen on writing a sequel. As an impresed reader, I am very glad to hear that there will indeed be a sequel. Thank you Ms. Priest!
The Narration: The narration was also excellent. Having two readers to pass back and forth the male and female parts brought out the richness of the personal letters and journal entries. The regional accents came through clearly. Both Mitchell and Wayne imbued the characters with a range of emotions, as the story demanded.
I know it is a good book when I get to work and have 23 minutes left and actually *think* about going in late so that I can sit in my car and finish it.
Good Book - great concept!
Love the mixing of two genres, even though there were a couple of slow spots, cannot help but give this 5 stars. Really enjoy Cherie Priest's books, and this one did not disappoint. Hoping there is a sequel in fact, or an extension of some of the characters in another book.
I like mysteries (particularly British ones, historical fiction and nonfiction, science fiction and fantasy.
If you know anything about the life of Lisbet Borden after the conclusion of her famous trial, forget it. The chronology of events in this book (set in 1894) is about 10 years off and, yes, that really bugged me. However the events as reimagined by Cherie Priest including Lovecraft's Cthulu Mythos in part, fit well into the overall facts..
Maplecroft is the name of the house that Lisbet and Emma Borden moved to after the younger sister was acquitted of the murder of their father and step-mother. It is a fact that they both were very concerned about their personal safety. There's nothing really startling in this novel although Priest does provide some descriptive details. There is very good use made of Lizzy Borden's axe.
I do regret having listened to this on audio though instead of reading it. I don't think that Johanna Parker's voice (which worked very well in my opinion in her reading of the Sookie Stackhouse books) was particularly affective in this book. Her accent sounded "off" for the time and place. Roger Wayne's voice also seemed a little too light and young for the characters he was reading. Some more character in his voice would have been improved things a great deal, especially in reading the parts attributed to the 60ish year old Dr Seabury.
If you are inclined that way and know a bit about the Weird Tales background, the book does provide some fun hunt-the-reference moments.
Note: I did not finish this book, but gave up around 3/4 through.
This is well-written, though in period-flavored prose, which I note some reviewers object to. I suggest listening to the sample to get a sense of whether you'll like that.
The plot progresses slowly and non-linearly, focusing on a variety of odd happenings, never hitting you over the head but always allowing you to draw your own horrifying conclusions.
Many of the characters are sympathetic, even bit players, which serves to amplify the sense of dread. I didn't want bad things to happen to these characters.
And therein lies my problem. The sense of dread built up to the point that I honestly couldn't stand to keep listening. I felt physically sick with dread. Like the sensation before going to the dentist (or facing whatever your phobia is), knowing something horrible is going to happen and being helpless to do anything about it.
If that description makes you sit up and think "Wow, what an effective horror story!" then you will love this book. That's why I gave it a high review. It's very good at its job.
But if you don't enjoy that kind of experience, then I suggest you stay away.
Yes for sure
I would love to know more. To ask all the questions that were not answered in the book.
NUMBER OF HEARTS: 4 3/4
“There it was. Yes! I grabbed my ax” Lizzie L Borden.
You thought you knew everything there was to know about Lizzie Borden and her ax.....
You were wrong.
Very very wrong!!
This was my first Cherie Priest novell and the first in her new Borden Dispatches series. There was so much going on in this story are just a few points.
How the story is written: The story is told by multiple points of view: Lizzie Borden, Emma Borden, Nance O’Neil, Dr. Owen Seabury, Professor Phillip Zollicoffer. Each point of view was told to us by their journal entries and the current events of the day, the hour, the minute. It was a very interesting way to write a story. I will say that listening to it was a tad bit confusing at first trying to figure out what was going on and to keep track of dates.
Lizzie Borden: Is not what she seems or maybe in a way she is. Lizzie knows something stirs in the dark, something dark, dangerous and very very deadly. An interesting note about Lizzie, she has a very unconventional relationship with Nance O’Neil (well unconventional for the time period). I loved Lizzie and Nance’s relationship.
Emma Borden: While a loyal sister did get on my nerves as the story went on.
The Evil: Here is where I was left with more questions then answers. I am so confused as to what it was. How it came to be. Is it gone? So many questions.
Listened on Audio: This book was narrated by two people. While the narrators were good, at time the voice tended to run together. Emma and Lizzie sounded a lot a like. Dr. Seabury & Professor Zollicoffer sounded similar. But all in all I enjoyed the narrators.
I can say that I am not normally a fan of non-HEA books but I found myself sucked into the world of Maplecroft. I was sucked into the mystery of Fall River. Sucked into Lizzie Borden’s turmoil in trying to keep everyone safe. I can not wait to see what is next for Lizzie and Fall River.
If you are a fan of Urban Fantasy/Mystery genre you really should pick up a copy of Maplecroft.
I received a complimentary copy of this audiobook from Tantor Media in exchange for an honest review. This review is my own opinion and not a paid review.
Returned this after 3 hours as the Audible description didn't fully elaborate this is a fantasy supernatural story. The one review did but didn't see that till after. Thought it would be more historical fiction. I gave it a try once u knew what it was but just dragged for me and got tired of the amorphous being out there infecting and killing people.
Maplecroft was both an entertaining foray into historical fiction but also a surprisingly well-told addition to the Lovecraftian oeuvre. I cannot recommend it enough.
The imagery and interesting format for telling the tale, consisting of letters and journal entries, drew me in immediately. The writing is in keeping with a classic H. P. Lovecraft story, the otherworldly horror gripping described.
Unfortunately the tale lags. The strange happenings largely fall to wayside for a while to make room for interpersonal interactions that seemed increasingly out of place for the tale. Much of them could have been summed up in far less time.
I had to put the story down several times before finally deciding to finish it up simply to see the end and have it done with. The climax lacks punch, the otherworldly mostly as a backdrop for a wholly mundane conclusion.
This book had great potential but the narrative just didn't work for me. Love the story of an ax wielding, lesbian, action heroine in Lizzie Borden but the narrative took way to long to develop. The end was great but getting there was painful.
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