Lost in the Dismal Swamp...
After her husband murders their daughter and
then commits suicide, Courtney Edmiston, devastated and homeless,
accepts an invitation to move in with her old college friend, Jan
Blackburn. Jan lives with her brother, David, and eccentric Aunt Martha
in the town of Fearing, North Carolina, at the edge of the Dismal Swamp.
The Blackburn family has suffered its own recent tragedies — and
Courtney learns that Jan and David have more than their share of enemies
in the town. Because of her association with them, Courtney soon finds
Fearing a very dangerous place to live. Certain members of the Surber
family, who once worked for the Blackburns, hold a deep grudge against
Jan and David and, on several occasions, attempt brutal acts of violence
against them. Courtney, determined to help her friend in her own time of
crisis, sets out to broker a peace but instead becomes more and more
mired in the bitter feud.
For reasons Courtney cannot comprehend, many of the townspeople fear old
Martha Blackburn. However, she begins to understand why when Martha
threatens the Surbers with swift retribution — by way of a ghostly
entity known as the Monarch — and gruesome death does indeed visit the
Surbers. And to her horror, Courtney, caught between the two feuding
families, at last becomes the focus of Aunt Martha’s fury.
In desperation, two of the Surber brothers abduct Courtney and Jan and
threaten to kill them unless the Blackburns meet their demands. However,
Martha unleashes the horrific Monarch against her family's rivals. And
Courtney, whom Martha now considers an enemy, becomes as much a target
for its inhuman wrath as the remaining members of the treacherous Surber
"I would recommend The Monarchs to anyone
who enjoys their horror intelligently written, character driven, and
bloody. Without giving too much away, I can say that The Monarchs has
one of the most exciting endings to a novel that I’ve read in the last
year. You really shouldn’t pass this one by."
Mark Rainey is author of the
Shadows: Dreams of the Dark (with
Blue Devil Island, and
Frontier; the short story collections
Devil & Other Weird Horrors,
of the Night, and
Other Gods; and over 100 works of short
fiction. He achieved questionable infamy and absolutely no fortune as editor of
Deathrealm magazine, and has edited the anthologies
Song of Cthulhu, and
Evermore (with James Robert Smith).