Publisher: Obsidian Point
Publication Date: 2nd January 2017
REVIEWED BY NEV
A copy of Beneath the Ziggurat was sent to Confessions of a Reviewer by the author, David Dubrow, in exchange for an honest review. This is said review. This book is published by Obsidian Point.
So, David Dubrow. Dirty Dave as he is sometimes known. I have known him for a while now, since reading the first two parts of the Armageddon Trilogy, The Blessed Man and the Witch and The Nephilim and the False Prophet. You can read my reviews of both at the bottom of the page. Now I have a lot of respect for Mr Dubrow, both as a writer and as a person. He has been a tireless supporter of Confessions since it first started and for that I am truly grateful, and he knows this. He also knows that because I think he is a decent guy, this will not grant him any favours when I read his stuff and post a review.
That being said, here is what I thought of Beneath the Ziggurat.
The year is 1511. The Spanish are in the throes of taking over everything in Central America.
For some of them though, even that is not enough. A group of deserters hear of a stash of treasure, hidden deep in the jungle, and make it their priority to find it.
Taking a local Indian and priest as hostages, they set about finding this treasure, no matter the cost.
This is a very short story that will take you no longer than an hour to read, allowing for interruptions from annoying people. As such, my normal reviewing format is going out the window.
There are no people mentioned in the book that I would class as main characters. Everyone shares the same amount of space and limelight. However, you are told the story from the narrative perspective of the young Indian who is taken hostage. He does an expert job of describing everything for you as it happens in the story.
It’s a simple plot. Gold hungry Spaniards go on a rampage to find a treasure they know exists, and want all for themselves.
Not so simple.
They don’t speak the local lingo but do have someone with them to translate for them when they meet local tribesmen and ask for advice about where the stash is kept. It appears that they just decided to ignore the warnings of something evil that the tribesmen provide them with. They should have listened.
This, my friends, is how to write a short horror story and give you everything that you need to thrill you, scare you and entertain you.
I’m a sucker for horror stories set way back in our past that include references to ancient evils that guard certain places or certain people and the oft talked about consequences of going against that evil.
That is exactly what you get in this tale. Add into the mix a little bit of eerie Lovecraftian style monsters and demons, and this story ticks all the boxes for me.
This is totally different from anything I have read from Mr Dubrow previously. His novels can be very in-depth, with huge back stories and complicated patchworks of interconnecting storylines that all merge into one for the finale.
This one is completely different because of its simplistic nature. Not simplistic because of it lacks anything. Quite the contrary. The writing style has perfectly used the language of the era so that the narrator makes you feel totally at home in believing you are actually in Central America in the 1600’s. It’s simplistic because you have a plot and it more of less sticks to it. You know from the start what is going to happen. You just don’t know how it is going to happen. And that is where the fun lies for me.
There isn’t really much more I can tell you without basically giving everything away. A twenty-four-page story doesn’t normally get this many words in a review from me but this is the sort of story that I could imagine sitting in a pub, having a chat about it with other people who have read it.
It leaves an impression on you that won’t just disappear. That, to me, shows the power and skill of someone’s writing to pull that off in such a short story.
Bravo, Dirty Dave. Bravo.
☆☆☆☆☆ crackin story!
☆☆☆☆☆ creepy as owt!
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Beneath the Ziggurat takes the reader on a Lovecraftian journey through pre-Columbian Mexico, where dread lurks behind every step of rainforest and the old gods still hold terrible sway. Descend into a nightmare of brutal Spanish conquistadors, bizarre aboriginal tribes, and unspeakable alien horrors in a tale that David Angsten, author of Dark Gold and Night of the Furies lauded as “an instant, timeless, phantasmagoric classic.”
CONFESSIONS REVIEWS DAVID DUBROW
Although Dave’s parents have maintained that he read The Chronicles of Narnia when he was only four years old, he doesn’t remember it, and the only evidence of their claim is his reverence for lions and tendency to get lost for decades of subjective time in wardrobes. Of his later youth little is known and less is spoken of, save for the diving watch incident that still makes his older brother crack up. Despite a love of reading and a family that placed great value on scholarship, his academic career was distinguished by mediocrity; the sheepskin he earned at Temple University should probably have an asterisk on it somewhere.
His Puritan work ethic saw him through years of hard labor in Philadelphia at thankless tasks, and the skills he acquired amaze supermarket cashiers and assistant produce managers even today. Belatedly heeding Horace Greeley’s admonishment to “go west, young man,” he drove his beater in the direction of the setting sun and fetched up at the foothills of the Rocky Mountains with few prospects and fewer friends.
It was in Colorado that he found the love of his life and a career in publishing with “the most dangerous press in America,” in reverse order. Over a decade later, he condensed the techniques of combat shooting, knife fighting, martial arts, and survival skills he’d learned first-hand into a book titled, “The Ultimate Guide to Surviving a Zombie Apocalypse.” Lavishly illustrated by a baker’s half-dozen of talented artists, it was written under the pseudonym F. Kim O’Neill and published by Paladin Press in 2010. Scott Kenemore, author of “Zombie, Ohio” and “Zombie, Illinois,” called it, “One of the most capable and engaging how-to zombie survival books I’ve encountered.”
Eventually, the stories in his head needed to come out. Eschewing the more old-fashioned technique of trepanning, he instead went digital and began to write e-books. His first novel is titled “The Blessed Man and the Witch.” The beginning of a trilogy about a Biblical apocalypse, it addresses western occultism, angelic phenomena, demonic possession, and the slow dissolution of American society within a credible and original framework.
Dave, his wife, and their son now live on the west coast of Florida, swatting alligators and wrestling mosquitoes.
And for more about David, see his site or find him on social media: