Master Of The Forest – Artyom Dereschuk
Reviewed by Steve Stred
To be frank – I got this book for three reasons. #1 – it was offered up as a freebie on Amazon. #2 – look at that freaking cover! #3 – Siberia.
I’d never heard of the author or the book before, but the cover and saying it was a horror novel set in Siberia had me hooked, and of course with it being offered up as a Kindle freebie sweetened the pot.
I’ve always been drawn towards Russian and Siberian based stuff; movies, TV shows and books. For me at least, the vast, unexplored realms of these areas are intriguing, lending itself to be ideal settings for the ‘unknown.’ There was a pseudo-reality show a few years back entitled Siberia that I enjoyed greatly. The acting wasn’t top notch, but the premise was fantastic and as the story evolved and unfolded it drew you in deeper and deeper. Alas, it only aired for one season, then was cancelled, leaving us with a massive cliff-hanger.
Luckily for us, Dereschuk doesn’t leave any cliff-hangers here.
Now – to warn you all – this book will be a struggle for some because a good portion of it reads as though it was put through Google translate. I’m not sure if this was originally released in Russia and then the author translated it, but there are many paragraphs that don’t read smoothly and it’s either because English is a language newer to Artyom, or the translation didn’t do it any favours. If you can look past that, you’re in for a treat.
The first 25% of the book is a slower start. Dereschuk builds the basis nicely as too why our main character goes from a small town to the big city of Moscow then abandons everything to head off into the Siberian wilderness in search of buried Mammoth tusks. They want to excavate the tusks and sell them on the black market, making hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Once he makes the decision to leave his corporate job behind and head to the wilderness, that’s where the story really picks up.
Dereschuk does a great job of introducing the interpersonal relationships between our main character, his geologist partner and the other diggers at the camp and once a discovery is made, the action ramps up.
I loved the descriptions of the titular Master of the Forests and blood, gore and carnage ensue. This was a really fun creature-feature and I think deserves to be read by fans of the genre. If you live for Severed Grin Press releases, you’ll definitely want to check this one out!
Star Rating (out of 5): 4*
Master Of The Forest
A young man leaves his backdoor Russian town and heads to Moscow, never to be poor again. With each day, he grows more and more desperate until he meets an old geologist with an intriguing and surprisingly profitable offer: to join him on his trip to the depths of Siberia, the largest forest on the planet, and become a “black digger” – one of those who find and excavate mammoth tusks with the purpose of selling them as ivory to the highest bidder.
With nothing much to lose, our hero agrees, venturing to the edge of the Earth, beyond the borders of civilization and into the untouched wilderness. There, thousands of miles from home, in a race against the clock before the cold seals the ground, he has to face nature, other diggers, his inner demons and, most importantly, the enigmatic “Master of the Forest” – a prehistoric creature and the origin of all local legends, who ferociously protects his domain.
Steve Stred is an up-and-coming Dark, Bleak Horror author.
Steve is the author of the novel Invisible, the novellas Wagon Buddy, Yuri and Jane: the 816 Chronicles and two collections of short stories; Frostbitten: 12 Hymns of Misery and Left Hand Path: 13 More Tales of Black Magick, the dark poetry collection Dim the Sun and his most recent release was the coming-of-age, urban legend tale The Girl Who Hid in the Trees.
On June 1st, 2019 his second full-length novel, The Stranger will be welcomed to the world.
Steve is also a voracious reader, reviewing everything he reads and submitting the majority of his reviews to be featured on Kendall Reviews.
Steve Stred is based in Edmonton, AB, Canada and lives with his wife, his son and their dog OJ.
You can follow Steve on Twitter @stevestred
You can visit Steve’s Official website here
Ahhh… nothing like the annual summer family camping trip, right?
Malcolm, his wife Sam and their two kids have been staying at the same cabin, at the same campground for years now. Heck, Malcolm’s been coming to the campground since he was a kid.
Miles and miles of groomed trails, hiking, kayaking on the pristine lake. What’s not to like?
But this year… well this year’s different. You see, roof repairs have caused them to have to change their plans. Now they’re staying at the cabin at the end of season, in fact they’re the last campers before it closes for the winter.
While happy to be spending time with the family, Malcolm feels a shift.
The caretaker next door makes it known he hates him.
The trees… move and dance, as though calling him, beckoning him.
Then on a seemingly normal kayaking trip, the family makes a discovery.
YOU TAKE FROM ME
I TAKE FROM YOU
Something’s out there, just on the other side of the fence. Malcolm’s positive it’s just the caretaker trying to scare him, teach the family a lesson.
But what if it’s not…
What if there is something out there?
The Stranger is the second novel from Steve Stred and 9th release overall. The Stranger is another offering following in the footsteps of similar books Invisible, YURI and The Girl Who Hid in the Trees. As Steve describes his works; “dark, bleak horror.”
With this release, Steve has decided to look deeper into what makes humans tick. He confronts two key elements of mankind; bigotry and our environmental footprint.
Featuring stunning cover art by Chadwick St. John (www.inkshadows.com), The Stranger will be a story that will leave you feeling uneasy and have you looking at the trees differently.
Maybe it’s not the wind making the branches sway…