There was a time when an A-Z was a rather dull map and list of places to go. However thanks to books such as this and Phobopobia, the A-Z has transformed into a much more entertaining book. Within the pages of this tome are 26 tales featuring a catalog of mythical beasts and demons from such great authors as Barbie Wilde, Mark West, Adrian Chamberlin, Tim Dry, and Raven Dane. The Bestiarum Vocabulum, is a wonderful menagerie of tales that cannot fail but entertain you.
I'll be honest here, I have been holding off doing the review for this book for some time. I got burnt out on writing reviews for short stories. This had absolutely nothing to do with the quality of the book, for this is an exceptional anthology that is excellent value for money. It's a hefty tome that overall delivers a brilliant reading experience, as can be expected not all of the stories are excellent, and there does seem to be a slight problem with typoes, particularly in Peter Mark May's tale, which is annoying as they through the reader off on what is at heart a very good story.
Some of my personal favourites include Jan Edwards tale The Black Hound Of Newgate, a chilling retelling of the legend of the aforementioned Black Hound, which captures the sights and sounds of a Victorian Prison brilliantly in one chilling tale.
I love big monster films and I love a good old fashioned tale of pulp tale of monsters. So Rakie Keig's Helicoprion for e was one the highlights of the anthology. I won't spoil it for you, suffice to say this tale of cavers and an ancient beast is pulptastic in its delivery.
I'm also a sucker for the myths and legends of this great land of ours, and Mark West's excellent Jack In Irons, in which Mark uses the basis of a giant who stalks the countryside looking for unwary travellers armed with a big spiked club. Mark's story reads like one of those scary bedtime fairy tales that your parents used to read to you when you were a child.
Where Mark's story reads like a scary bedtime story, the same cannot be said for Tim Dry's entry Onokentaura. Wow this is one hell of a brutal and harrowing story. Somehow Tim's story just manages to stay on the right side of exploitive storytelling. This story features some hellish sexul imagery, in particular a double rape scene. however the quality of Tim's writing manages to keep this deeply disturbing story on the the right track. Bewarned this isn't for the feint hearted.
Zulu Zombies, or Zombie Zulus no matter how you put it you just know you are onto a winner. Barbie Wilde has the honour of closing of this anthology with her fabulous gore filled tale of a drunken late night journey home. Throw in witch doctors and spearings aplenty and the story gets elevated pure unadulterated fun.
Not all of the stories worked for me, for example Joe Mynhardt's story In The Shadow Of The Golem, could have been an excellent story, but it suffers from feeling as though it doesn't take itself too seriously, which for me jarred a bit. If the author had either written it as a serious story or pushed the tongue in cheek angle a bit more then I think we would be onto a winner.
Overall though this anthology is well worth your time and money. It is an ambitious book that on the whole delivers.
A catalog of mythic beasts and demons that were summoned by esoteric means. Once owned by Count Allesandro Di Cagliostro, it was thought forever lost in a fire at the Chateau de Versailles.
Two hundred years later, twenty-six modern day masters of the macabre bring The Bestiarum Vocabulum back from the ashes.
Full Table Of Contents:
A Is For Amon by Emile-Louis Tomas Jouvet
B Is For The Black Hound of Newgate by Jan Edwards
C Is For Chupacraba by Martin Roberts
D Is for Djinn by Lisa Jenkins
E Is For Ellerwoman by Peter Mark May
F Is For Fenrir by Raven Dane
G Is For Golem by Joe Mynhardt
H Is For Helicoprion by Rakie Keig
I is for Imp by D.T. Griffith
J Is For Jack In Irons by Mark West
K Is For Kappa by John Palisano
L is for Lamia by Amelia Mangan
M Is For Mara by Robert W. Walker
N Is for Nimerigar by Christine Dougherty
O Is For Onokentaura by Tim Dry
P Is For Púca by Nerine Dorman
Q Is For Qareen by Dean M. Drinkel
R Is For Rusalka by Christine Morgan
S Is For Succubae by Tej Turner
T Is For Tsul ‘Kalu by D.M. Youngquist
U Is For Ubume by Jason D. Brawn
V Is for Veltis by Lily Childs
W Is For Werewolf by Andy Taylor
X Is for XeXeu by Sandra Norval
Y Is For Yule Lads by Adrian Chamberlin
Z Is For Zulu Zombies by Barbie Wilde