Title: The Ettinfell of Beacon Hill: Gothic Tales of Boston
Publisher: Jackanapes Press
Author: Adam Bolivar
Illustrator: Dan Sauer
John Drake is the Ettinfell. A descendant of Jack the Giant-Killer, Drake wanders the hills and shadowed backroads of 1920s Boston, hunting those things which should not be … or at least should not be on this side of the Veil. From spectral boars to dybbuks, from disinterred corpses and ghouls to a direct descendant of Mother Goose, all cross paths — for good or ill — with John Drake. But it is not just ancestral oaths that drive Drake to seek out the otherworldly … for there is an enchantress whose music haunts his dreams, a woman who hails from an other-than-human realm ….
There are advantages to following authors on social media. They introduce you to other authors, who introduce you to still other authors. Eventually, you end up with a massive pile of fantastic books that you just can’t wait to read. The Ettinfell of Beacon Hill is one such book.
This review is going to be sparse on details, and for that I apologize. I just don’t want to spoil too much. This is the sort of book that is best read with only a vague idea as to its contents: Boston, magic, monsters, folklore, hero. Once the reader opens the pages, they will discover that there is so much more going on. This is not just a collection of interwoven short stories; this is also a history of folklore and mythology; an immersion into gothic poetry; a criss-crossing through time and space between the old country and the new, between the mundane world and the other-world; a soul-deep longing for love and beauty; and a rip-roaring adventure as one man faces down the weird and inhuman.
It is also beautifully illustrated by Dan Sauer, a graphic artist who founded Jackanapes Press, and who creates many of the covers and pieces of interior artwork for Jackanapes‘ titles. The collages vary from “cool!” to “freaky!” to “what the hell is that?!” and all perfectly fit Bolivar’s stories and poems.
The Ettinfell of Beacon Hill is a fantastic read. Highly recommended to fans of Bolivar’s other work, as well as fans of Conquer by Edward M. Erdelac, The Dark Yule by R.M. Callahan, Unquiet Stars by Ann K. Schwader, and John Linwood Grant’s Where All Is Night, and Starless.
[Reviewed by Rebecca Buchanan.]