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Would You Read A Historical Horror?

I’m not a hardcore horror fan, but I love historical settings. So I’m intrigued by A Fine Likeness, a historical horror by Sean McLachlan.

Elevator pitch: A Confederate guerrilla and a Union captain discover there’s something more dangerous in the woods than each other.

Teaser Excerpt:  The figurine looked like a two-headed eagle, its necks grotesquely
elongated from a bulbous and bloated body. Lean heads projected out to
curved beaks that ended in needle-sharp points, open in a pair of frozen
cries. It squatted on a heap of twisted human forms, claws digging into
naked backs.

The faces appeared mutilated, screaming in terror, and it
took a moment for Captain Addison to realize that all of them had two
faces. Some had a full set of features on either side of hideously
broadened heads, the space between them a sickly smear. Others had two
heads attached by the neck or an ear, as if the artist had caught them
in the process of splitting apart. The tortured souls on which the
monstrous eagle sat confirmed his guess. These had nearly two full
bodies each, sharing only the portion from the hip down, or a leg; in
one case all that connected an identical pair were their outstretched
fingertips as they looked into one another’s terrified eyes, mouths
rounded in mutual silent screams.

Something about the bird’s feathers struck him as strange.
Examining the minutely carved surface he realized the artist had carved
not feathers, not the natural plumage of a God-created bird, but a bed
of worms covering the eagle’s entire body except for its beak and
cruelly clutching claws. They seemed to writhe over its surface, coil
and entwine with one another, those on the bird’s underbelly reaching
down toward the victims beneath, tiny mouths open in anticipation of a

“The captain shuddered and looked away. What abomination did these guerrillas worship?

Interesting characters, scary premise.
Damyanti Biswas

Damyanti Biswas is the author of You Beneath Your Skin and numerous short stories that have been published in magazines and anthologies in the US, the UK, and Asia. She has been shortlisted for Best Small Fictions and Bath Novel Awards and is co-editor of the Forge Literary Magazine. Her literary crime thriller series, the Blue Mumbai, is represented by Lucienne Diver from The Knight Agency. Both The Blue Bar and The Blue Monsoon were published in 2023.

I appreciate comments, and I always visit back. If you're having trouble commenting, let me know via the contact form, or tweet me up @damyantig !

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  • Donna Hole says:

    Looks like a good read to me.


  • Lexa Cain says:

    Great excerpt, Sean! The description of the image was so amazing, it made me really want to see the thing "in the flesh" as it were. lol 🙂

  • That does sound interesting! And, yes, I probably *would* read a historical horror, though I don't usually enjoy Civil War history as much as I do some other parts of the past.

  • I haven't read much historical fiction, but I've been a huge fan of horror all my life, so I'm definitely curious about this book!

  • klahanie says:

    Hey Damyanti and Sean,

    Time to leave yet another one of my eagerly anticipated comments. Delusional moment over.

    An interesting twist. The worm eating the bird, as such. Most descriptive writing and I shudder from reading the enticing excerpt.

    As per usual, very kind of you to bring awareness like this, Damyanti.

    And yep, I shall duly share this posting on all those social networks, even 'Farcebook'!

    Gary 🙂

  • D.G. Hudson says:

    I think I'd have nightmares about the wormy bird, Sean.

    Good luck – will check that link on what else you have on the go.

  • You sold me!

    I'll head over to Amazon today 🙂

    FYI, I highlighted your short story in my blog today as well as my FB page.

    CD Coffelt ponders at Spirit Called
    And critiques at UnicornBell
    Facebooks at Wilder Mage

  • For more info about what I do to help fellow indie authors, including the free photos I mentioned, check out this page

  • I've always been a fan of historical horror. Putting the paranormal elements into the past makes them more believeable somehow. Perhaps because more people back then believed in them! There's a lot in the book about spiritualism and trying to speak with the dead, both hugely popular practices during the Civil War for obvious reasons.

  • I'm just reading Sean's comment, very generous of him to offer his pictures like that- may be taking him up on it. This sounds like a book I'd love to read.

  • Thanks for having me Damyanti! Historical fiction is lots of fun to write, and is a good way to double dip on the research I do for my history books.
    I'm in England at the moment researching several history pieces. I just finished one that's behind the scenes look at the British Museum. They showed me the mummy storage room. Wow. Just wow.
    One of the best parts of this job is all the things it lets you do.
    Hi Alex! Thanks for buying my book. I'd love to hear your honest assessment once you've read it.
    By the way, if there are any authors out there (I spot at least two) who need photos for their ebook, drop me a line. I have a ton of travel photos from more than 30 countries you can use for free. Castles, Ethiopian horse races, WWII tanks, the Alps, etc.

  • You bet I'd read it! have Sean's book on my iPad already.

  • Adding to my list now. Sounds intriguing.


  • M Pax says:

    Definitely on my to read list.

  • I would most definitely read a historical horror. It sounds like something I'd really love. I'll check this out!

  • Priya says:

    I do love historical fiction lately. Though I've never read historical horror, this book sounds terrifying and intriguing at the same time.

  • Manzanita says:

    PS … I mean I do "like" historical fiction….. I don't do it. Haha

  • Manzanita says:

    I got the creepy crawlers just reading the description of the wormy body. I do historical fiction.