Sunday, February 14, 2021

Witch-Cult Abbey by Mark Samuels

In Witch-Cult Abbey (2020) by Mark Samuels, a former book cataloguer named Saul Prior is called during WWII to Thool Abbey in Hertfordshire to catalog a library of strange books. He is basically kept prisoner for years (his only sense of the passage of time being the arrival of Revd. Alfonsus Winters--a nod to Montague Summers in many ways--who tells him it is eight years since he arrived there), in this strangely funereal house of shifting sizes covered in endless darkness. And then the book gets stranger. I found it quite compelling and enjoyed it greatly. (I've similarly enjoyed a bunch of Samuels's previous books, and reviewed a couple of them at this blog.) The overly tall format is a bit cumbersome, but the design is otherwise nice. Too bad the limitation is so small (199 numbered and 24 lettered copies). A book like this one is infinitely better than most of the crap commercially published for a much larger readership, and that is a real shame.  

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