AbominationSynopsis: Berserker Wulfric is called once again into the service of Alfred the Great in the war against the Vikings. As a reward, Wulfric is cursed by an evil sorcerer- one who used his evil powers in the service of Alfred to transform beasts and men into terrible ravaging monsters- when Wulfric comes to slay said sorcerer by orders of the king. As a result of the curse, Wulfric loses everything, wife, child, home, humanity as he turns monstrous and destroys his family and his village. Flip ahead fifteen years. Wulfric roams England, keeping his monster side hidden from all around him. He encounters Indra, the adopted fifteen/sixteen year old daughter of his old comrade. She’s prickly and angry and wanting to be a warrior against evil like adopted Daddy, but he’s not having it. This is 9th Century England, after all. So, she runs off to do her quest year anyway. Of course, the two meet up, fight, figure out they are father and daughter, instantly develop a family bond, overcome the evil adopted Daddy/old comrade and live happily ever after.

How to be kind?

There is no way other than to be truthful of opinion.

Abomination is aptly named. The book was represented as an historical/horror novel the screenwriter of The Book of Eli, an award-winning film by the “award-winning” Gary Whitta. Representations, appearances, however, are not always indicative of the truth.

The writing of Abomination is action-oriented, which fits with Whitta’s gamer/comic background. As a novel based on historical events or period, it possesses a shocking lack of detail and nuance of the era. The little history within the story could have easily been lifted from the Wikipedia for England of the 9th Century. Indeed, the name of the female protagonist is definitely not one in use in 9th Century England. Rather, it is a female name from India. A fiction based on historical events or periods should weave something of those events or eras within the story beyond a statement of location and time.

The magic is not well described in the novel nor well researched as far as historical methodology or belief of the era. A scene describing the gutting of an animal demonstrates the author’s lack of familiarity of hunting and the assumption of puritanical notions of modesty and nudity existed in the time and era chosen for the novel. An afternoon spent at a major Society for Creative Anachronisms would have yielded better ideas of the culture of 9th century England.

The character of Indra, the lost daughter of Wulfric, is constructed along the lines of popular Young Adult Novel characters such as Katniss from The Hunger Games or Tris from Divergent. She’s a fighter, idealistic and with her hawk in tow, chafing to prove herself a warrior against monsters. She is hardly indicative of an actual character from the time and place of the novel and more along the lines of a RPG character. None of the characters actually evolve and the story-line ends in a predictable manner.

Truly, the novel reads more of an RPG player’s fantasy than of a novel based on an historical time and events. There is nothing inherently wrong with that. Much fantasy is very like that. However, horror writers like Chelsea Quinn Yarbro meticulously research the historical times and places used and often note where deviation from established fact occurred due to creative license. RPG players can often have a skewed or nonexistent knowledge of historical facts and of mythology that games such as Dungeons and Dragons are based. (Hate me all you will, but hearing a 500 pound Centaur and a 110 pound half-ling described as “fat” by a player at a convention in Los Angles pretty much sums that up.) So, please don’t describe a novel as historical horror when the history is a thin veneer over a gamer’s vision of how the tales of people were. The novel is more properly “horror fantasy”.

As that, it is readable and forgettable, a quality of “something to pass the time” should possess.

And that “award-winning”? The only reference found was to the 2014 Razzie for “Worst Screenplay” for After Earth, along with co-creators, M. Night Shyamalan and Will Smith (who conceived the story) and a video game The Walking Dead with co-writers, Sean Vanaman and Mark Darin for Best Writing by Digital Trends.

Abomination was published in August 2015 by Inkshares, Inc. Gary Whitta is the screenwriter of The Book of Eli.