Between Two Fires by Christopher Buehlman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
So. That just happened.
I'm putting this book in my unofficial six-star rating because I was blown away.
I mean, after starting it, I was impressed enough with the depictions of the Black Plague in France, during the Hundred-Year's-War, the wealth of details, how religion and ignorance and fear permeated everything, but as I continued on, I was shocked at how much further we would go down the rabbit hole.
It felt like historical fiction, knee-deep in the muck, buboes, pathos, and the horror of reality. But then it got psychological, with nightmares that may or may not have been hallucinations, with fear, deviltry, and ignorance running rampant across the countryside. The empty towns, hucksters, the famine, plague, and death were barely held at bay by faith and willpower and just holding on to one or two pure things in a world that was a truly apocalyptic vision.
And that was just one of the fires.
For anyone who has studied medieval lithographs and descriptions of devils or who have studied the Book of Enoch's descriptions of angels, you know these things are WILD. Just imagine if all these old descriptions (and not our modern versions) were crawling this French apocalypse? Playing with bodies like puppeteers, grotesque visions of torture, hellish playthings, in a nightmare scenario of the end-times and the celestial battle, all right here on Earth? Well, that's another fire.
The details in this book, the depth of the absolutely terrifying scenarios, truly scared me. And I'm an old hand at horror. I am fine with gross-outs and thrillers. This one took me down another path. It gave me no escape and dragged me through hell.
I cannot recommend this enough. Or I can't recommend it at all. I'm pretty certain I'm going to have nightmares.
In other words, it's f***ing brilliant.
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