Neolithica: Dan Soule
Reviewed By Steve Stred
Is archaeological-horror making a return? Or is it just that randomly in my TBR ordering and release dates, I’ve stumbled upon a number of books in the last couple years that feature “an ancient discovery” as the main plot point?
Over the last few years, I’ve read ‘Curse of the Viking King‘ by Russell James, ‘Ararat‘ by Christopher Golden, ‘The Reddening‘ by Adam LG Nevill, ‘The Mourner’s Cradle‘ by Tommy B. Smith and ‘Tomb of Gods‘ by Brian Moreland. That’s just what I read. There are countless other releases that have been unleashed into the world that focus on a discovery that opens up a supernatural world.
Now, enter another – ”Neolithica‘ by Dan Soule. Recently, I read his excellent ‘Witchopper‘ and with the praise ‘Neolithica‘ had received, I was all too happy to return to his writing.
What I liked: If you haven’t figured it out yet, ‘Neolithica‘ revolves around a discovery. We get introduced to Mirin, returning to work following a tragedy. Trying to find where she fits in the University’s department. She’d been in line to be Department Head, but after taking time to grieve, that position was filled by a colleague. As a horrific incident happens, this discovery is made and from there, things go super dark.
Soule has a fantastic way of keeping this book grounded in reality while building this hauntingly dark story. Mirin is an intriguing character, one that I really enjoyed watching her story arc play out.
The backstory or mythological elements of this are really well done and shows me just how intriguing Soule is as a writer, now having read both this and ‘Witchopper.’
What I didn’t like: It took me a little bit to get into the story, but once I did it was a rampage through the last 75% or so. Nothing major, just at first the hooks didn’t grab me immediately.
Why you should buy this: Soule has created a really great, dark read. Full of emotion and carnage. He does a great job of building this story chapter by chapter. I loved that in the afterword he stated that he had a different ending originally and has included a link to go read it. I personally haven’t checked that out yet, but it shows just how multi-layered this story is that you could come to two different endings here.
KR: You can read Neolithica’s first two chapters HERE
The discovery of a young boy’s body, brutally murdered and preserved for thousands of years in a Scottish peat bog, brings with it more than a find of a lifetime for archaeologist Mirin Hassan.
After the death of her husband, Mirin wants life to get back to normal for her and her young son. But media attention and professional rivalries become the least of her worries.
Something other than cameras followed the corpse back to the university.
A malevolent force grows unseen.
The weather turns biblical. Violence and death spread beyond the university.
Could it be connected with the strange discovery?
The city grasps for a rational explanation, but time is up. Chaos has arrived, as Mirin realises some things should stay buried.
Steve Stred is the author of a number of novels, novellas and collections. He has appeared in anthologies with some of Horror’s heaviest hitters.
He lives in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada with his wife, son and their dog OJ.
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