cover image Volk: A Novel of Radiant Abomination

Volk: A Novel of Radiant Abomination

David Nickle. ChiZine (Consortium, U.S. dist.; Fitzhenry and Whitesite, Canadian dist.), $17.99 trade paper (400p) ISBN 978-1-77148-417-6

In a frightening sequel with prescient undertones, Nickle triumphantly returns to the world of Eutopia: A Novel of Terrible Optimism for another dive into the horrific. Writing in a heightened style that evokes the classic gothic horrors of Stoker, Shelley, and Poe, Nickle takes up the story of Jason Thistledown and Andrew Waggoner decades after their unintentional association with a monstrous plot involving eugenics, religious hysteria, and a semi-mystical being known as the Juke. Jason, now a veteran WWI pilot, has taken to burning himself with cigarettes to keep the lingering aftereffects of his contact with the Juke at bay. Andrew runs a sanatorium near Paris and leads a secret society devoted to destroying the Juke. Separated by geography yet linked through their shared history, the men are reluctantly drawn into an insidious scheme involving German legends, the Juke, and Hitler’s plans to create “perfect beings.” It’s difficult not to read contemporary political subtext into a plot involving people who “rallied around a leader who dined out on the disparagement of lesser races, and fomenting terror of miscegenation,” yet this is nowhere near a polemic. It is a dazzling horror novel that’s unafraid to ask questions and leave some of them unanswered. Agent: Chris Bucci, McDermid Agency. (Sept.)