A new darkness

Presented by
Tim

In August of 2014 we were privileged to meet, and make, a new friend. An author who had just had his debut novel, “The Devil’s Ark”, published.

Of that novel it has been said;

…it’s a very gripping read.
~ Krystal Sim, SciFi Now UK

The Devil’s Ark is a great fun read. Sometimes you can be happy knowing what sort of thing to expect in a read and here in The Devil’s Ark the reader is not disappointed. Like a good Hammer Horror movie or a Weird Tales magazine story, the fun here is not in the actual events as they happen but in the telling.
~ Mark Yon, SFF World.

Creepy, classy … full of dread and lust and echoing with the sorrows of war. We need more stories like this.
~ Christopher Golden, New York Times bestselling author of Snowblind

And,
As much about the horrors of war as the primeval horrors that lurk in the depths of the human psyche.
~ F.R. Tallis, author of The Forbidden

Bedford, U.K. Based author, and Head of English at Bedford Modern, Stephen Bywater has just released his new novel, “Night of the Damned

9781472210418

The novel is based in the depths of the Amazon rain forest and, in part, on the extraordinary concept of automobile magnate Henry Ford.

Fordlândia is a now-abandoned, prefabricated industrial town established in the Amazon Rainforest in 1928 by American industrialist Henry Ford to secure a source of cultivated rubber for the automobile manufacturing operations of the Ford Motor Company in the United States. Ford had negotiated a deal with the Brazilian government granting his newly formed Companhia Industrial do Brasil a concession of 10,000 km2 (3,900 sq mi) of land on the banks of the Rio Tapajós near the city of Santarém, Brazil, in exchange for a 9% interest in the profits generated.[1]

Fordlandia Img. source fee.org

Fordlandia
Img. source fee.org

As Stephen tells us, of the work;

Night of the Damned, like The Devil’s Ark, leans towards the supernatural but instead of an archaeological dig in Iraq, the action takes place deep in the Amazon jungle in the 1930s. The setting is loosely based on Henry Ford’s Fordlandia, which was a vast rubber plantation the car magnate founded in the heart of the Brazilian rainforest. It is a tale about immorality and obsession, where very little is as it seems. Labourers begin to disappear and pale, cadaverous figures are glimpsed in the jungle surrounding the settlement. With the story partly inspired by Ford’s own forgotten city it interweaves fact and fiction and leaves the reader with an unsettling vision of a very ‘modern’ hell.”

Abandoned factory at 'Fordlandia' Img. source roughguides.com

Abandoned factory at ‘Fordlandia’
Img. source roughguides.com

It was the setting which first grabbed me, the Amazon jungle and the failing rubber plantation. This was quickly followed by wanting to imagine what it would be like to have an automobile magnate’s ability to shape a hostile landscape: the idea that men from Michigan could succeed in forcing the rainforest to bow to logic of the assembly line, that no concession would be made to the climate, pests or diseases, that an American settlement, complete with street lighting, fire hydrants and ice-cream parlour, could be created in amongst the ghost towns which cling to the muddy banks of the Tapajòs.
The novel took just over a year to write and what I’ve ended up with is something far more sinister than I intended. Think Heart of Darkness meets The Dawn of the Dead , with Nabakov’s ingénue lurking somewhere in the shadows.

We asked Stephen whether the tale had been influenced by local legends or folklore of the Amazon;

I went with Dante’s Inferno and the entrance to hell being deep in the Amazon, the idea being that hell is full and the damned are walking the earth. I also take zombie back to its origins with the idea that it might be an insect bite or voodoo – docile and biddable and perfect for the assembly line /rubber plantation.

Img. source anarkiesmusings.blogspot.com

Img. source anarkiesmusings.blogspot.com

It would seem that our friend, Stephen, has come up with another “very gripping read” and one which is sure to win him further critical acclaim; and an even bigger fan base, for his literary prowess.

9781472210418~ Night of the Damned ~

“A legend uncovered, an evil that cannot be contained”

Author Stephen Bywater

Author Stephen Bywater

Copyright RVL and Stephen Bywater, 2015

1) Dempsey, Mary A. (1994). “Fordlandia”. Michigan History 78 (4): 24–33.

NB: Where used, quoted portions of other works are reproduced under the “fair use for education” provisions of relevant legislations.

The views and opinions presented in this article are the opinions of the author and/or contributors and do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of The Owner/s of RVL, their officers, assigns or agents. RVL and its officers do not personally, individually, or jointly necessarily recommend or condone any of the activities or practices represented.

This information is freely available to all FOR PERSONAL USE only, it may be reproduced, or linked to, on personal web sites WITH FULL CREDIT but it may not be used for commercial purposes nor for general distribution without PRIOR WRITTEN CONSENT from Real Vampire Life and our guest/s.

For further details please see our Website Disclaimer

 

The Devil’s Ark… a new author friend

Devils Ark

The Devil’s Ark
Presented by
Tim

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be on an archeological dig in the Middle East during the twenties and thirties? Have you ever wondered where the legends of Lilith first came into being? Have you ever longed to delve into the darkness of a newly uncovered tomb in this strange and exotic locale? Well, thanks to our new friend, Stephen Bywater from England you can lose yourself in the lands, and the times, with his new novel, The Devil’s Ark.

Stephen has been very kind in promoting our resource and in appreciation we would like highlight him, and his work.

…Bywater has produced a story which more than anything reminded me of an early Hammer film. There is the personal and institutional racism which existed at the time as well as the sexual politics, where women were portrayed as either virgins or whores.
[The Author] uses this Edwardian fear of a woman’s sexuality, to good effect, in his central threat, that which is buried in the ziggurat.
– Sci-Fi Online

Picture credit ~ http://analogicalplanet.com/

Picture credit ~ http://analogicalplanet.com/

Stephen Bywater joined the merchant navy at sixteen and worked on cargo ships and cruise liners. At twenty-four, and without any A Levels, he started an English degree at the University of North London. After graduating, and University training as an English teacher, he taught in Argentina for two years and El Salvador for one before returning to the UK to complete an M Lit at St Andrews. He now makes his home in Bedford with his wife and two daughters and is the Head of English at Bedford Modern.

He teIls us;
I started writing when I was at sea; strange autobiographical sketches, a jumble of Edgar Allan Poe, Henry Miller, Dylan Thomas, Hergé, and H P Lovecraft. I have written short pieces for The Times Educational Supplement.”

Adam Eve and Lil

Insert PIC: Adam Eve and Lilith as the Serpent c.1210ad Notre Dame, Paris [photo. tsparks 2009]

“Nineveh first enters the historical record in about 1800 BCE as a center of worship of Ishtar, which established the city as an important religious center. It was during the rise of the Neo-Assyrian Empire, particularly from the time of Ashurnasirpal II (ruled 883–859 BCE) onward, that the city witnessed its first great architectural expansion. Thereafter, the monarchs Sargon II, Esarhaddon, Sennacherib and Ashurbanipal established new palaces and temples to Sin, Ashur, Nergal, Samas, Ishtar, and Nabiu of Borsipa. It was Sennacherib, however, who elevated Nineveh to great prominence (c. 700 BCE).”

~ Popular Arhaeology.com

nineveh7
Of the book, Ian writes:
“Harry Ward returns to Mesopotamia to join an archaeological dig outside Mosul as its photographer (their first having mysteriously disappeared). The dig has uncovered a ziggurat which lies beyond the walls of the abandoned city of Nineveh. It becomes clear that it is somehow connected to Lilith, Adam’s first wife and the mother of all Succubi. Disturbing dreams torment him and he begins to worry not just about his sanity, but what the expedition is about to uncover. Is the ziggurat merely a temple dedicated to Lilith, or is there something much more disturbing lurking inside?
The Devil’s Ark explores one man’s struggle to come to terms with the horror of the forgotten war in Mesopotamia. It is a story about what lies hidden in the shadows and chillingly pits the quest for sanity against the sway of the night and the supernatural.”

Ninevah Today: The Adad Gate (popular archaeology.com)

Ninevah Today: The Adad Gate (popular archaeology.com)

Of writing the novel, he goes on to tell;
“I started the novel two years ago. For several years I had been toying with the idea of writing something about Lilith and Iraq. I re-read Polidori’s The Vampyre, several Lovecraft stories and Agatha Christie’s Murder in Mesopotamia. I also visited her home near Dartmouth (it has a small collection of Assyrian objects unearthed by her husband) and read a number of texts on the fight against the Ottoman Empire during World War One, as well as contemporary accounts about archaeological digs in Mesopotamia / Iraq. I also read Peter Barham’s Forgotten Lunatics of the Great War.
The Devil’s Ark interweaves fact and fiction and it may interest the reader to know where the narrative endeavours to establish links with the past. Nineveh is an ancient city which lies just across the Tigris from Mosul. Its history is well documented and archaeological excavations by the British were carried out during the 1920s.”
Devils Ark
The book is published by Headline / Hodder, and is represented on Stephen’s website  and is available through Amazon

If you are a fan of the whole Lilith legend, ancient Mesopotamia and it’s Folklore and Mythology… and if you like a bit of a scare with your reading material, do yourself a favour and get hold of this one…!

Copyright: RVL & Stephen Bywater 2014

NB: Where used, quoted portions of other works are reproduced under the “fair use for education” provisions of relevant legislations and with permission of the owner of the material.

The views and opinions presented in this article are the opinions of the author and/or contributors and do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of The Owner/s of RVL, their officers, assigns or agents. RVL and its officers do not personally, individually, or jointly necessarily recommend or condone any of the activities or practices represented.

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For further details please see our Website Disclaimer