This was a pleasant diversion from other books I’ve read recently. It felt like the theme, which all 18 authors took very seriously, fit perfectly with the various styles and themes. No shining armor or damsels saved by princely heroes. These stories are dark, evocative, and well-meshed. One thing I am particularly pleased to see is a book where the editing is immaculate. It’s hard enough to do that when the language is modern.
Standout stories for me include Hailey Piper’s darkly carnal “In Thrall to This Good Earth,” where a haunted cry leads three hunters to a jutting stone and goes in very unexpected directions. “Schizarre,” by Bridget D. Brave – a very symbolic story of two monks, love, lust and loss, “The Fourth Scene,” by Brian Evenson, which is a very Dark Ages style tale that would have fit right into Arthurian legends, and the ending poem, “The Lai of the Danse Macabre,” which is likely the most ambitious work in the book and handled with style, bringing a voice that might well have come from another time and place to modern pages.
Dark relationships, murder, petulant gods, Howls from the Dark Ages has all of that and more. Very highly recommended.