CHARNEL GLAMOUR by Mark Samuels in Stock and Shipping

30th Jun 2024

Charnel Glamour by Mark Samuels

We've only discovered Chiroptera Press in the past year, but they've quickly become a favorite. Their most recent offering is a gorgeous collection, Charnel Glamour, by Mark Samuels, with a wraparound dust jacket and interior illustrations by Eli John.

We have ten copies in stock and ready to ship!

Crouching defiantly in the shadow of the expanding metropolis of London, Gallows Langley broods at one end of the mystery-haunted Thool Valley. Here, the inroads of progress are baffled and thwarted and visitors from the capital should beware. With the first misstep, they are liable to stray into a universe of unsuspected forces, ancient and weird, an abyss on their very doorstep, and their enlightened urban values will prove ineffective talismans against what they encounter.

A literary critic ventures out to Gallows Langley and the dusty domain of the Institution, the final residence of a deceased author of ‘strange tales’, whose troubling reputation she hopes to subvert in order to save her own.

Construction of a new road through Penceddo Wood meets with stubborn and inexplicable difficulties. A reluctant trouble-shooter sent to the location finds himself drawn into a maze of history and folklore with something furtive and malignant at its centre.

Doctor Winterburn has some curious ideas about how to treat patients at the Gallows Langley Lunatic Asylum; the purposes he has in mind for them are even more curious, and he is determined that no one will stand in his way.

A dealer in weird books encounters an uncompromising connoisseur and is forced to sample his own nightmarish wares; and a hapless young couple discover the consequences of unhallowed intoxication in the form of an uncle’s home-made wine.

These and other potent visions await the unwary in the pages of Charnel Glamour.

Since the appearance of The White Hands and Other Weird Tales in 2003, Mark Samuels has forged a distinctive and uncompromising body of work in the realm of weird and horror fiction. Earning praise from such voices as T.E.D. Klein and Michael Dirda, Samuels has combined a Borgesian play of ideas with a sensibility steeped in the twin traditions of cinematic and literary horror. The nine extraordinary tales in Charnel Glamour form in this edition the first publication of the last writings left to the world by one of the most notable weird authors of our time.

Seven of the nine tales are set in the fictional Thool Valley, forming a myth-cycle around the village of Gallows Langley, the nucleus of a vortex of iniquitous cults and sinister distortions of the fabric of reality, with secret passages running in dark and labyrinthine ways between tales. In the Gallows Langley sequence, Samuels takes a turn away from the urban and corporate horror that has occupied much of his previous work, towards the rural and ‘folk horror’, showing us what baleful things the Wolf Moon illuminates and unearthing revenants from the soil of British history in an archaeology of the macabre.

The final two tales are the magisterial ‘If Destiny Still Reigns’, chilling as its Siberian setting, and the mist-wreathed, valedictory ‘The End of Death’, a case of missing persons and a dispatch on Last Things. Both, in their different ways, stand worthy as the last fictional testimony of a considerable author.

In the collection as a whole we find the familiar, dread-filled cosmology of the undead that has become a Samuels hallmark, here given some new twists and laced with a subtle, layered reflection upon the sources in our history of what might sustain us against the inhuman depredations to come. Lurid entertainment here sits side by side with an existentialism of the human species, and the philosophical peers from behind the gruesome.

Hailed already by pre-publication readers as his greatest collection, Charnel Glamour is the black swan-song of an author whose reputation will now only grow.