Roughly a year ago, I reviewed Skendleby, a mindblowing archaeo-horror/mystery by archaeologist and author Nick Brown. I’m thrilled to say that the second book in his Ancient Gramarye series, The Dead Travel Fast, is now available for public consumption.
Now I really despise spoilers and I’d hate to give away too many details of this novel’s well weaved plot. I’ll do my best to tease the central story and fill you in on what kept me turning pages late into the night.
The story picks up some time after the events of Skendleby. Archaeologist Steve Watkins has relocated to the island of Samos, off the coast of Greece, in a last ditch effort to put the horrors of the previous year behind him. Unbeknownst he’s traded one mystical calamity for another. As he soon learns, Samos is being plagued by a series of brutal ritualistic murders, which as you can imagine Steve is bound to become embroiled in. Steve is joined by a cast of interesting new characters, as well as some old familiars. Theodrakis, a detective working to solve the murders, is a new entry and shares the stage with Steve in this novel. He’s a tortured man facing an uphill battle with a supernatural foe and dastardly co-workers. Brown’s characters are gritty and real, constantly drawing the short straw but never giving up. Equally important is the island of Samos, which Brown proves he has an intimate familiarity with. Samos history and environment are every bit as important to the plot as is the cast of characters who inhabit the island.
It is no secret that Brown knits his personal experiences into each story. His knowledge of Ancient Greek culture was on full display in Luck Bringer. This novel, too, uses the mythos and history of Ancient Greek as a foundation while capturing the modern day socio-economic turmoil currently eating away at Greece. Brown weaves his fictional narrative around these pillars to create a story that gets progressively worse for the beleaguered protagonists. All the better read for us! If Skendelby set the bar for this series, The Dead Travel Fast, raises the bar by dropping the floor out from under you.
I’m anxiously awaiting the third entry into the series to see what additional miseries Brown can pour into his characters’ lives. The Dead Travel Fast is published by Clink Street Publishing and is available via online retailers in paperback and for e-readers. You can get your copy by clicking here: The Dead Travel Fast (Ancient Gramarye)