Failed academic Frank Nichols and his wife, Eudora, have arrived in the sleepy Georgia town of Whitbrow, where Frank hopes to write a history of his family's old estate - the Savoyard Plantation - and the horrors that occurred there. At first, the quaint, rural ways of their new neighbors seem to be everything they wanted. But there is an unspoken dread that the townsfolk have lived with for generations. A presence that demands sacrifice. It comes from the shadowy woods across the river, where the ruins of Savoyard still stand. Where a longstanding debt of blood has never been forgotten. A debt that has been waiting patiently for Frank Nichols's homecoming...
©2011 Christopher Buehlman (P)2011 Penguin
I felt unease from the first few minutes listening to this story. It took a bit of listening to place it in time. I guess if I had looked at the Publisher's Summary I would have seen that it was 1939, but I didn't so I had to try to figure it out, which I did eventually.
At first the unease is in the relationship between Frank and Eudora. The author does a good job to give you a sense that there is something off about the relationship, and you discover later that the start of their relationship has created chaos and trauma for them both.
Then there is Whitbrow, and that place is odd and so many things make you uneasy that you know something is going on. The town has a strange ritual of sending pigs across the river as a sacrifice and when they decide it's a silly ritual and to stop, things go haywire.
A good horror story makes me uncomfortable as this one did. There is one scene towards the end that still makes me a little ill thinking about it, but it is what the one thing that allows Frank to make a decision about what he is going to do and is crucial to the story.
Well written, nice prose, and a sense of unease that blooms into terror. What more could you want from a horror novel?
Buehlman's novel is subtle leading you up to an interesting finale. Imagine your worst fears made trivial by a terror that exceeds your imagination.
I absolutely loved this story!
The characters have great duality and the era is an interesting one- post WWI.
The only negative I can report is the technical editing of the audio. The last word of of the last sentence in each chapter is clipped. I think the recording studio should be notified. You do understand what is being said -it is just my opinion that this causes a sense of abruptness the story would do better without.
This is a great book! Not quite as good as his second book (Between 2 Fires) but seriously head and shoulders above most of the horror that is out there. The story moves along a little slow at first, but then then the menacing tone starts and the dread builds. However, when the mystery is revealed things unwind a bit and I started to see bad decisions that could have avoided the tragedies that unfolded. The story lingers a little longer than I wanted but the ending ties all subplots together and gives a nice sense of forboding and mystery for things to come. I also really like the way the author told this story in first person as if he is telling you how things happened in the past. He uses this to forshadow things to great effect. Finally, I liked how Buehlman spared the southern characters from some of the typical stereotypes used by other authors. This is a good story and short enough to listen to in a day or two.
Avid reader all of my life! Favorite author: Stephen King. Favorite book: Hyperion.
I like Christopher Buehlman because of his vivid and descriptive prose. He's a natural for building a very believable environment. I highly recommend his other book: Between Two Fires. This story - Those Across The River - expertly ratchets up the dread and horror. That being said, I was a bit disappointed with what those across the river turned out to be, but that's a minor quibble.
The narration is well done, except the sound recording seemed to have a persistent glitch. Towards the end of some chapters, it's like the final word gets partially cut off. It's frequent enough to be irksome.
Still, I definitely recommend this book.
Surprising, entertaining, interesting.
Have not listened to any other
I really had no idea what was 'across the river' until midbook. It was surprising and not the type of book I would have chosen but I really enjoyed it and it kept me spellbound to find out the end.
This book had a few great twists and turns that kept me entertained through to the very end. Wonderfully narrated, eerie, and unexpected. I can't give enough praise to Mark Bramhall for his ability to perfectly capture every character with their own specific accent. Well done, all around.
I did notice quite frequent skips in the recording itself - I just thought I'd mention that to anyone out there wondering if there's something wrong with their media player...
I think the author did a great job of capturing the feel of the depression era as well as the small town setting for the story. The relationship between the two main characters was well defined and engrossing.
The deep timber and slow delivery, suggestive of a southern drawl helped define the story line. The narrator did a very nice job with the southern accents.
As mentioned, this book had glitches, The sudden dropping out was jangling considering the intensity of the dialogue. Good story, well written, didn't want to stop listening!
I won't spoil what sub-genre this falls into, but I will say Buehlman did a great job with some incredible literary chops. I love stories set in the Depression anyway.
this was an amazingly complex and enthralling story. Well performed. Will be considered one of the favorites.
A good listen for the week heading up to Halloween! Not particularly complex but a fun horror story with a few touches the dark humor thrown in. There are a couple of twists you may or may not anticipate but I think I'd enjoy either way.
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