The roots of evil run deeper than you can ever imagine.
Lucas Sawyer and his wife, Tamsen, find themselves marooned in the heart of a mid-19th century wilderness forest. They are rescued by Jonah Duvall, a mysterious woodsman abiding in this strange valley with his wife, Jezebel, and thier son, Cord. Brooding over all stands the Devil Tree - a huge evil jackpine that has summoned them to this valley to feed upon their collective emotions and their unnatural offspring. Part earth spirit, part elder demon - the tree is farming them.
The characters are bound in a tightening noose of of undeniable fate. As winter sets in, they must face the tree's unholy fury in an utterly horrific finale.
Devil-Tree is a story that will take you further and further into the heart of unimaginable horror.
This is Steve Vernon's first full length novel, if you consider six hours full length. Maybe it is wishful thinking, but I believe it shows promise. It is not quite there yet, but if you are looking to get in on the beginning of a promising career, this could be it.
Parts of it reminded me of Cormac McCarthy's Blood Meridian. Some of it reminded me of Joe Hill (son of Stephen King). Some of it reminded me of Peter Straub.
It starts out fairly exciting with a couple on a raft in the middle of a river going crazy. The raft falls apart and they are rescued or are they. All the characters in this story are flawed. There are no heroes. The story struggles from the lack of a plot, plan or quest. These characters need to be striving for something. The only one with a plan seems to be the evil tree, which SV gives no voice to. There are also lots of remembering the past by all characters and there are several drug like visions with ghosts, making it confusing to know exactly what is going on at times.
SV's prose is good and his premiss for a story is great, I believe this would have been a lot better if he would have given the tree a voice, let us know what it is planning, and if he would have explained how the tree became evil.
I don't think I have ever heard this narrator before and it sounded like he did this in his basement, it is a below average recording.
So this is only for those who want to get in on the ground floor of what might turn out to be the next Stephen King (only with teeth).
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