books / Reviews

Book Review – The Old Gods Waken by Manly Wade Wellman


Since I grew up reading Robert E. Howard and H.P. Lovecraft, I felt that I had a bit of a pulp pedigree.  Yet, I found in my college years that there were many other great writers (Clark Ashton Smith, Hugh Cave, C.L. Moore, etc.) that I had never read and that were essential to my pulp reader cred.  One of the writers that I never had a chance to read was Many Wade Wellman.  I’ve read people who he has influenced, such as Brian Keene, but never the man himself.

Now that I am a Yankee in a southern state, I find that the readers of the south love their writing sons and daughters.  So, naturally I bring up Wellman who lived most of his life in North Carolina.  There are not many who know him.  His Appalachian magic and folk-lore is not as appreciated as it should be.

Their lack of knowledge set my mind to tracking down his work and finally diving in.  I started with The Old Gods Waken, one of the few Silver John novels.  This work was like a breath of fresh air.  Wellman’s prose and style were wonderful and his characters well drawn.

I had a great time getting to know them and loved the old gods in a new land idea behind the work.  Silver John was a wonderful leading man.  I just imagine Johnny Cash with a silver guitar using his know-how and grit to defeat the gods of the old world and their evil druids.

This is one to pick up.  It is a bit hard to find, but the audio book (read by Stefan Rudnicki ) is a great version.  As soon as I finished the book, I put the newest edition of Wellman’s Silver John short stories on my Amazon wish list.  I can’t wait to visit with him again, maybe hear an old song or two.

Silver John by Chris Schweizer


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