Stepping into the…Circle of the Witch

 

Question: Take the most pristine, ingenuous soul ever born and force it bear witness to twenty three centuries of slaughter and atrocity…have it wallow through the killing fields of history’s bloodiest conflicts, witness the endless stream of torture and unspeakable cruelty that has stained the gore-spattered history of humanity, all in search of a great and terrible epiphany…what would that soul ultimately become?

 

It’s taken twenty-three years, but Circle of the Witch has finally coalesced out of the nebulous well spring of creativity that is my rather warped imagination. This single volume, epic horror offering is far and away my most ambitious work to date…both in terms of its length and its scope.

This is the teaser of the novel as it makes its way to the various retail sites, but in truth it is a faint glimmer of the many inherent concepts and complexities that I have attempted to inculcate into the fabric of this horror tale.

After a controversial shooting ends Raymond Saddler’s LAPD career, he accepts a sheriff’s position in the small town of Quinsett, believing that the isolated and sedate town will be the ideal place to rebuild his shattered life. Instead, he discovers a long-harbored secret, a dormant evil and an adversary, who may well be history’s greatest villain…or most tortured and aggrieved victim.

As Quinsett is plunged into a complex and savage nightmare of violence and death, Saddler quickly gleans that the façade of small town Americana is a shallow illusion. Though fifty years dead, the specter of Jeniah Lightcrusher continues to haunt the isolated town. The victim of a vigilante murder, the purported witch vowed vengeance against the offspring of those who took her life. As Saddler grappled with the mounting carnage, he begins to discern a pattern that suggests this oath of vengeance is not simply the stuff of urban myth, but a festering blood debt woven into the tapestry of the town. Haunted by the demons of his own inadequacy and confronted by an evil that defies logic, Raymond Saddler is unaware that the one he loves and trusts the most has ushered him into the Circle of the Witch.

I’ll begin by divulging that the novel’s title is a deliberate misnomer. Circle of the Witch is a novel about witchcraft only in the most peripheral sense of the concept…nor is this novel intended to be a scholarly treatise on the subject of ritual magic. The novel is intended to a pure deluge of the elements that make horror such a compelling genre to read. The antagonist is a creature unique in and of itself…worthy of contempt and loathing, but perhaps even more deserving of immense pity for the enormity of the burden it has been forced to carry.

Into the fabric of each of my novels, I’ve attempted to intertwine a prevailing thematic element that would serve as a foundation upon which the novel was built. In Circle of the Witch, I wanted to explore the psychological aspects of the impact of horror on the characters who fall beneath its shadow. Ultimately, horror is an emotion…or more succinctly, an emotional reaction to traumatic external pressures and stimuli. As a writer, this is one of the most enticing aspects of written horror…the portrayal of how characters are altered by the intensity of their experiences. Many of the primary characters in the novel are subjected to harrowing ordeals that radically alter who they are…a stark and poignant affirmation that the human heart is not intransigent…is not unyielding stone that cannot be molded by the cumulative torrent of experience. Those who inadvertently wander into the circle (at least, the few who survive) will emerged radically and irreversibly altered by the events that await them. Therein is the true art of this particular novel…a depiction of the manifestation of change that comes with being subjected to incomprehensible terror. With this intention in mind, I invite readers to step inside the Circle of the Witch and discover the harrowing answer to the question posed in the first paragraph of this page.

 

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