by Daniel Mills
Silas Flood is haunted, a broken man in a broken country. Nine years have passed since the end of the American Civil War and Flood is helpless to escape its shadow. During the war, he served as an army chaplain at the Wilderness and Spotsylvania only to lose his faith, his family, and his vocation. Now he finds work as a journalist for a New York newspaper.
In the summer of 1874 he is dispatched to the mountain village of Moriah, Vermont to investigate sensational claims of supernatural happenings at a wayside inn. There the brothers Thaddeus and Ambrose Lynch are said to converse with spirits and summon the dead.
In Moriah, Flood encounters others like himself: a grieving couple, a childless widow. By day he questions the Lynch brothers who prove less than forthcoming. They too are haunted by buried secrets, old ghosts. In the evenings he attends séances where the resurrected dead dance and sing and give comfort to the living. As Flood investigates the true nature of these phenomena he is forced to come to terms with his own past and with the hold it has upon him.
Moriah is a work of the historical Gothic which recalls the Victorian fiction of Sarah Waters, Michael Cox, and Charles Palliser.
Praise for Daniel Mills
“Mills deftly jumps between narratives as the story unfolds, his prose saturating every page with dread as he teases out his characters’ secrets and lies. This intense novel will draw in readers outside Mills’s usual audience.”
“Mills’ spare descriptions and terse dialogue contribute to the appropriately eerie atmosphere, as do the robust journal entries that precede each chapter. Another stunningly twisted tale mired in history from a master of the macabre.”
“Daniel Mills is a master of telling tales. . . . Melancholic and mesmerizing, this book will stay with readers long after they finish, and further cements Mills as a name in fiction to read and revere.”
—The New York Journal of Books
“[A]n exciting story with complex characters, beautiful prose, and a compelling plot. . . . Mills has delivered a piece of taut and suspenseful historical fiction that will please fans of literary and genre fiction alike.”
—This Is Horror
“The atmosphere is as cloying and suffocating as the air of that unnaturally hot Vermont August, and Mills handles the progressive revelations with great craftsmanship. . . . Think rather of Flannery O’Connor at her most gruesome, or Henry James’s The Turn of the Screw, with its relentless suggestion and ambivalence, and fantastic suspension between interpretations. And yes, Moriah is good enough to invite those kinds of comparison.”
“Moriah will haunt you.”
“Moriah is a splendid read, with beautiful, deliberate prose and a haunting, oppressive atmosphere.”
—Seven Days Vermont
“In Moriah, Daniel Mills summons his tale of spiritualists in backwoods, postbellum New England in a heavenly tongue. It’s as though Frederick Busch or John Williams had written the screenplay for The Witch. Startling, and profoundly sad.”
—Adrian Van Young, author of Shadows in Summerland
“Daniel Mills is a modern master of the unspoken, a classical horror miniaturist whose writing references the bleak and existentially dread-full gothic Americana of Edgar Allan Poe, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Charlotte Perkins Gilman. Best read out loud around a failing fire on a darksome plain, as night sets in.”
—Gemma Files, Shirley Jackson award-winning author of Experimental Film
“[Mills’s] trademark devotion to character, setting, atmosphere, and creeping dread is obvious . . . a slow burn novel immersed in the thick, claustrophobic atmosphere of a dark dream from which there is no waking up.”
“The real ‘ghosts’ in the novel are the burdens of the past that each character is haunted by, but the real thrill of the book is watching those burdens emerge, interact, and bend the characters ever down.”
—Tales of the Grotesque and Dungeonesque