The Again-Walkers: Deborah Sheldon
Reviewed by Priscilla Bettis
“The Again-Walkers” is a novelette about zombies before they were called zombies, the “again-walkers” of the Viking era.
Svana was given as a bride by her family to an awful man named Hallkell in order to stop a blood feud. Svana is brave and smart. Her huge, muscular husband is violent and cruel. So is her mother-in-law. With that setup, I was immediately cheering for Svana.
Svana and a shepherd in town fall in love. It’s a forbidden love, of course, because Svana is married to the horrid Hallkell. I don’t read romance. It’s just not my thing, so for Sheldon to write a romance-horror story and make it so engaging that I couldn’t not read it is a testament to Sheldon’s talent.
Her sensual descriptions of bodies (not just sex scenes, but characters in general) bring their textures, smells, motions, and sounds to life. I was there with Svana in the romantic scenes and the terrifying scenes.
There is much to fear in this story, not only the again-walkers, but also mob anger, (off-screen) animal cruelty, spies among townsfolks, and the power of gossip.
When Svana finally encounters an again-walker, she holds her breath. I held mine, too. Oh, the size and power of the menacing beast!
Sheldon’s prose is polished. Her storytelling comes from an experienced pen. I can’t think of a single thing I didn’t like about this story.
Sheldon’s The Again-Walkers is a novelette that will appeal to a broad horror audience even if, like me, you don’t normally read romance.
The Again-Walkers was inspired by ninth-century Danish mythology and superstition.
The premise: To end a blood feud between two Viking families, Svana Norup is offered as a peace-pledge bride to blacksmith, Hallkell Jenson.
Within weeks of moving to Hallkell’s village, however, Svana meets and falls for the shepherd, Agmundr Rask. If Svana and Agmundr want to make a life together, they must first get rid of Hallkell.
But can the lovers risk murder when Hallkell might return from the dead to take revenge?
You can buy The Again-Walkers from Amazon UK & Amazon US
Priscilla Bettis is an avid horror reader and passionate horror author. She’s also an excellent swimmer, which is good because vampires are terrible swimmers. Priscilla shares a home in the Northern Plains of Texas with her two-legged and four-legged family members.
Amazon author page: Priscilla-Bettis
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