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Cults of Death and Madness: The Book of Ancient Evil 1

Cults of Death and Madness: The Book of Ancient Evil 1


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A hideous idol. An ancient slumbering evil. A murderous cult.

1878—Doctor Archibald Shaw arrives in India with lofty intentions. He wants to make a difference in the world. As a young doctor and new officer in Her Majesty’s British army, he wants nothing more than to help the local people while distinguishing himself in Queen Victoria’s foreign service.

In short order, though, Shaw finds his basic concept of the world turned upside down. It begins with an ugly idol, and an evil from the dawn of time waiting to return to this world. This elder god still sleeps…but fitfully, and a cult long thought destroyed has come back to awaken it. They will kill anyone who gets in their way.

Everything Shaw once believed true dissolves around him, and he grasps at straws to keep his own sanity—including the desperate friendship of one young orphan boy. Will it be enough to keep him alive?

Shaw begins to realize that the fate of all humanity rests in his hands.

Author’s Note:

I walked a fine line with Cults of Death and Madness, between keeping everything accurate from a historical perspective, and with making stuff up to conveniently suit the story. Mostly I kept to the facts where I could find them.

Some events take place in real places of late 1800’s India, such as Bombay (now Mumbai) and Hyderabad. I hope any reader who lives in these places or just knows better will forgive any inconsistencies. Keep in mind this is an alternate reality and will have differences from the India of our own world. The city of Bandagar within Hyderabad, for example, is as fictional as the story itself.

Cults of Death and Madness is a prequel to my novelette Damned Voyage which appeared in Writers of the Future volume 35. One reader of that story suggested I was guilty of giving in to the “great white saviour” character where Shaw and Singh’s relationship was concerned. I have done my best to address that in this prequel while still keeping the elements of racism and white privilege from that time period historically accurate. To this end I have had friends of Indian background review the story and provide feedback. In the end it is up to you, the reader, to say if it’s been handled well.

Release day: December 15, 2021.
Ebook ISBN: 978-1-68057-233-9
Trade Paperback ISBN: 978-1-68057-232-2
Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-68057-234-6
336 pages

Author: John Haas

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