cover image The Eater of Gods

The Eater of Gods

Dan Franklin. Cemetery Dance, $15 (152p) ISBN 978-1-58767-857-8

This neat little book, Franklin’s debut, is much fresher than its B-movie premise might suggest. Contemporary professor of Egyptology Norman Haas has little personal interest in field research, but he is loyal to the memory of his recently deceased wife, Clara, and to her obsession with finding the resting place of Kiya, the queen of pharaoh Akhenaten, who was erased from history because of her blasphemy against the mob of Egyptian gods. So Norman accepts leadership of an expedition to war-shattered Libya, where a weary guide in a ruined town agrees to lead the party of Westerners out into the desert to Kiya’s tomb. Readers will expect things to go wrong, and indeed they do: the intruders are crushed, flayed, and slashed by ancient booby traps inside the tomb. As the dwindling band of survivors stumble through a vast underground maze, Norman’s guilt for failing Clara as cancer devoured her body begins to blur with his sense of Kiya’s frustrated rage from her futile struggle against the old gods. This emotional component elevates the gore and, by its conclusion, the story has become genuinely terrifying. Franklin is a horror writer to watch. (Mar.)