“‘The greatest trick the devil ever played was convincing the world that he did not exist’ Baudelaire
Sometimes the past is best left buried
Twelve years after fighting in Mesopotamia in the Great War, Harry Ward returns to the land where he lost his faith, his mind and almost his life.
Haunted by bloody visions of bayonets, shrapnel and shells, he takes up the offer of a simple job, working as a photographer on an archaeological dig outside of Mosul.
As the dig progresses, Ward begins to realise that what they have uncovered is no ordinary temple; it holds a terrible secret. Now flashbacks are the least of his problems … and he must face a new kind of terror”
The Devil’s Ark by Stephen Bywater is a Lovecraftian decent into madness, as Harry Ward is faced with a primordial evil. Bywater creates a mythos that is so terrifying because it is steeped in historical lore and superstitions.
The cult of Lillith can be seen all over the world, but whatever had been written about it was surely destroyed over the years. What remains is whispers and oral stories that have come down the generations and turned into urban legends; and that is what Stephen Bywater tackles with his incredible research.
The oppressive heat and sand offers an eerie atmosphere and a sense of isolation. Harry Ward is very much on his own to face what is called “the shambling horror”. Apathy is all Harry receives from his colleagues and every one is quick to dismiss him as insane, rather than face that thing they see in the corner of their eye.
The Devil’s Ark was a slow build up of the macabre and it feels like Bywater only scratched the surface on this subject. I would love to see what Stephen Bywater writes next.