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Manor, The (Book)



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What secrets are held in an artist’s retreat high in the Appalachian Mountains? And what power does the dead master of the house hold over his guests? These questions, and others, are answered in The Manor, a compelling new novel by author Scott Nicholson.

Set in the Appalachian Mountains, The Manor follows the exploits of artists from every discipline as they convene in the cavernous Korban Manor to strike deals with their respective muses. One guest, a sculptor named Mason, has come to make or break his career. Another, an author, has returned in hopes of catching that spark of genius that gilded his last great novel. Still others have come to draw inspiration from the rustic setting and lack of modern conveniences to lay oil to canvas or film a documentary. In the midst of all the artists is one woman, a clairvoyant named Anna, who has come, not to indulge in any artistic pretence, but because she was called to the house by a face in her dreams. Soon after arriving, it becomes clear to the reader, if not the characters themselves, that something more lies at the heart of the house on the mountain, and that something needs them for dark purposes.

Nicholson shows his strength as a writer throughout the novel. His understanding of the mountain folk who live and work in Korban Manor, and of their belief in ritual and magic, provides for compelling characterizations. He takes equal care with each of the artists that are central to his story. By the time the story is over, the reader feels not only that he’s been on a journey with the characters, but that they are friends.

Central to the story, Nicholson takes great pains to create Korban Manor and its isolated mountain top. The sense of loneliness and foreboding that comes from within the walls is palpable, with the reader taken in by every creaking stair and draft-filled hallway. In every room, whether it is on the widow’s walk or the hotter-than-hell basement, Nicholson paints a vivid picture of a house where nothing is what it seems.

Nicholson, who also penned the novels The Harvest and The Red Church, shows his love for the genre, and his talent for giving readers scares. The Manor is an excellent read, and well worth picking up.

The Manor
Scott Nicholson
Pinnacle Horror (Kensington Books), 2004
320 pages

4 out of 5

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