Between Two Fires

Fans of Those Across the River hoping for another chilling horror story will be caught off guard--and then likely delighted--by Christopher Buehlman's followup, Between Two Fires.

France, 1348: A former knight, his land and family taken from him, wanders with a pack of brigands across a countryside decimated by plague, the dead left to rot where they fall. When they come across a nearly adolescent girl still alive, Thomas feels compelled to save her from his colleagues, but his mood promptly sours when she insists on accompanying him. He's even less thrilled once she tells him the dream she's had: "I have to go to Avignon. I'm not sure why. I have something I have to do. And you have to make sure I get there safely."

If you know your medieval history, you'll recognize the significance of their destination: Avignon was the home to a string of 14th-century popes, and the real-life pontiff Clement VI will eventually play a key role in the drama. Long before then, however, the story becomes increasingly dark, downright phantasmagoric. And yet, while demonic forces throw one horrific obstacle after another at the unlikely partners--accompanied by an alcoholic priest facing a severe crisis of conscience--Buehlman stays focused on Thomas and his inner turmoil, and though the trials Thomas faces are severe, we never doubt he will rise to the occasion as the girl's holy mission becomes clearer.

By combining modern horror dynamics with a convincing medieval setting, Christopher Buehlman secures his status among today's leading dark fantasy authors. --Ron Hogan, founder of

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