Eric J. Guignard




Dark Tales of Lost Civilizations

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Darkness exists everywhere, and in no place greater than those where spirits and curses still reside. Tread not lightly on ancient lands that have been discovered by this collection of intrepid authors.

In DARK TALES OF LOST CIVILIZATIONS, you will unearth an anthology of twenty-five previously unpublished horror and speculative fiction stories, relating to aspects of civilizations that are crumbling, forgotten, rediscovered, or perhaps merely spoken about in great and fearful whispers.

•   In “Quetzalcoatl's Conquistador,” Hernán Cortés's plans to subdue Moctezuma’s Aztec empire do not include the intervention by the vengeful god Quetzalcoatl.

•   In “The Small, Black God,” a young archaeologist’s dig site is visited by a panel of scientists with motives of their own.

•   In “The Nightmare Orchestra,” we learn who, not what, are responsible for causing our nightmares.

Also, what is it that lures explorers to distant lands where none have returned? Where is Genghis Khan buried? What happened to Atlantis? Who will displace mankind on Earth? What laments have the Witches of Oz?

Answers to these mysteries and other tales of of archaeologists and scientists, treasure hunters, tragic royalty, and ghosts ,are presented within this critically acclaimed anthology.

Including stories by: Joe R. Lansdale, David Tallerman, Jonathan Vos Post, Jamie Lackey, Aaron J. French, and twenty exceptional others.

** Nominee for the 2012 Bram Stoker Award® for Superior Achievement in an Anthology **

* Download the Press Release Here! *


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  Product Details:                    
  Dark Tales of Lost Civilizations   Edited by Eric J. Guignard  
  Hardback (with dust jacket) ISBN-13: 978-1-949491-06-7   Interior Illustration by Ron Perovich  
  Paperback ISBN-13: 978-0-9834335-9-0   Number of pages: 388 (about 113,500 words)  
  e-book ISBN-13: 978-0-9988275-4-4   Published by Dark Moon Books  
  Library of Congress Control Number: 2017936557   Made in the United States of America  
  First edition published March, 2012      
  Full Contents Include:              
  Introduction by Eric J. Guignard
"Angel of Destruction" by Cynthia D. Witherspoon
"The Door Beyond the Water" by David Tallerman
"To Run a Stick Through a Fish" by Mark Lee Pearson
"Quivira" by Jackson Kuhl
"Directions" by Michael G. Cornelius
"Quetzalcoatl's Conquistador" by Jamie Lackey
"Königreich der Sorge (Kingdom of Sorrow)" by C. Deskin Rink
"Gestures of Faith" by Fadzlishah Johanabas
"Bare Bones" by Curtis James McConnell
"British Guiana, 1853" by Folly Blaine
"The Nightmare Orchestra" by Chelsea Armstrong
"The Funeral Procession" by Jay R. Thurston
  "Requiem" by Jason Andrew
"Gilgamesh and the by Mountain" by Bruce L. Priddy
"Buried Treasure" by Rob Rosen
"The Small, Black God" by Caw Miller
"In Eden" by Cherstin Holtzman
"We Are Not the Favored Children" by Matthew Borgard
"Rebirth in Dreams" by A.J. French
"Whale of a Time" by Gitte Christensen
"Sins of our Fathers" by Wendra Chambers
"The Talisman of Hatra" by Andrew S. Williams
"Sumeria to the Stars" by Jonathan Vos Post
"The Tall Grass" by Joe R. Lansdale
"The Island Trovar" by JC Hemphill
  Reviews and Praise:              

"As a boy, some of my favorite stories were those of lost lands and civilizations, made popular by such writers as H. Rider Haggard, A. Merritt, and Talbot Mundy. I daydreamed of falling through some hidden cave entrance into a lost and forgotten world (sans injury of course) and if asked about my career ambitions I would have answered that I wanted to be one of those specially lucky explorers. As I gradually became aware that such civilizations weren't terribly likely in our closely-examined world, that fantasy became a bit bruised. But now Eric J. Guignard brings back a bit of that magic with Dark Tales of Lost Civilizations, an anthology mixing the values of pulp fiction (returning us to a milieu where such stories seem more possible) with contemporary standards of fresh description. Here we have lost islands, civilizations on the brink, and uncharted lands imaginatively described with new mythologies. David Tallerman, Mark Lee Pearson, Jamie Lackey, Folly Blaine, Jonathan Vos Post, and JC Hemphill—to mention just a few—all shine, and the new Joe Lansdale piece with a unique slant on a western railroad story is a special treat."

Steve Rasnic Tem, Bram Stoker and World Fantasy Award-winning author of novels (including his latest, Deadfall Hotel) and numerous collections of short fiction;


"Bright new voices offer chilling glimpses of the darkness beyond mere night."

David Brin, author of Earth, The Postman, and Otherness;


Famous Monsters of Filmland"I have to say that I was very pleasantly surprised at the quality and depth of the stories in this anthology. I found the stories to be very well written, filled with interesting characters and places. If you love tales of lost civilizations you would be hard pressed to find a better group of tales gathered in one place.
That being said, here are a few of my favorites from the book;
Directions by Michael G. Cornelius;  This was my favorite story in the collection. For those of you who follow my reviews and know me know how much of an influence “The Wicked Witch Of The West” had on shaping my love of being scared, horror and monsters.
This simply a fabulous take on Oz Witches mythos and is one of the best short stories I’ve read this year.
Königreich der Sorge (Kingdom of Sorrow) by C. Deskin Rink; A really great story of the Nazi’s unquenchable search for power and what they discover. A really frightening tale of desecration and evil better left undisturbed.
The Nightmare Orchestra by Chelsea Armstrong; A first time published author presents a terrifying and unique look at the dreams that haunt us.
The Funeral Procession by Jay R. Thurston;  Genghis Khan, who hasn’t heard of him this amazing and feared conqueror. This tale takes you on a journey with an archaeology team in search of the burial ground of Genghis Khan and what they discover.
The Tall Grass by Joe R. Lansdale; In this tale Mr. Lansdale again shows us his considerable talents and why he is one of the best in the business. This story is atmospheric and frightening and shows that when someone tells you not to stray to far…don’t.
These were just a few of my favorites in the collection. I am sure you will find your own. “Dark Tales Of Lost Civilizations” is a great group of stories, especially for those of us that love tales of adventure and discovery, even if some of the discoveries are horrific. You would be remiss if you didn’t give this anthology a try and I highly recommend it."

—Peter Schwotzer, Famous Monsters of Filmland;


Monster Librarian"Collected in Dark Tales of Lost Civilizations are 25 short stories from the horror and speculative fiction genres, unearthing our forgotten worlds and societies. The stories all begin with some known reality: a familiar legend, an interesting era, textbook chapter, or archeological site. Then, leaping into the void from there, each writer suggests a gruesome alternate history. The stories range from mildly disturbing to downright terrifying, although none are particularly visceral. Most are written in a conservative, suggestive style, relying on the reader’s own imagination to take the plunge from speculation to horror. This element keeps the collection rooted in the possible, making it scarier, perhaps, than the current saturation of seductive monster-based and slasher fiction. The prevailing understatement of gore makes the book a good choice for treating high school history students to a read-aloud on stormy afternoons.

Among my personal favorites was “Quivara”, by Jackson Kuhl. It begins with an old Sioux legend, a tragedy involving brothers mocking their gods. Kuhl’s prospecting hero brings the curse upon himself through greedy pillaging. The story is dark and comical, and Kuhl’s style is brisk. This would be a great piece to read in conjunction with Native American studies; short, pointed, and entirely in character with the original mythology.

“British Guiana, 1853” by Folly Blaine, is a cool piece done in chin-up, British imperialist style. Classic horror tension builds steadily from start to finish as the reader watches helplessly while the explorers, desperately frightened and warned away at every step, still insist on carrying onward to their doom. They open a vault made deliberately impassable; descend into terrifying darkness and stench; ignore a menacing, unearthly, drumbeat, and are climactically pursued into madness by the unnameable horror they unwittingly release. The writing is metaphorical and skillfully done.

“In Eden” by Cherstin Holtzman, is a satiric and original take on re-animation and the problems of keeping order in a wild west town in literal decay. Although the sheriff is only half a man, he makes a tough decision that affects the crumbling existence of what’s left of the population. Holtzman’s style is polished and understated, and he takes a surprisingly fresh angle on a well-trodden subject. Recommended for grades 6 and up."

—Sheila Shedd, Monster Librarian;


The British Fantasy Society"Being, as I am, a huge fan of H. Rider Haggard and the like, I came to this collection with high expectations. That’s not to say that this book is limited to stories set in ancient lost cities, found in the remote, unexplored regions of the world. It has a much wider remit than that.

The collection starts strongly with, ‘Angel of Destruction’, a short tale of the birth of an immortal evil at the fall of Assyria. Cynthia D. Witherspoon is one of a number of writers, unfamiliar to me, who I’ll be watching out for in the future.

I was on more familiar ground with ‘The Door Beyond the Water’, by David Tallerman. Readers will likely recognise the Lovecraftian nature of this excellent story of ancient evil influencing men through dreams, but it also has much of Dunsany, Chambers and Hodgson about it, all of whom were, of course, huge influences on HPL.

Michael G. Cornelius’ ‘Directions’ is a little gem, which has gone on my personal shortlist of best short stories of 2012 for when the time for awards nominations comes around. It does stretch the boundaries of the collection a bit, but this tale of how the witches of Oz met their individual ends and how their destinies failed to live up to their expectations is an absolute delight.

One of the real lost civilizations we revisit in the book is that of the Aztecs. In ‘Quetzalcoatl’s Conquistador’, by Jamie Lackey, we find out what happens when the feathered sepent himself possesses the Spanish explorer, Hernán Cortés. Naturally, subsequent events take a different path to that recorded in our history books.

‘Königreich der Sorge (Kingdom of Sorrow), by C. Deskin Rink is the second Lovecraftian tale in this collection. In 1939, Dr. Werner von Eichmann Phd. M.D., following an ancient map, takes his team far North, into the Arctic Circle. They eventually discover a huge trapdoor, one that appears to have been purposely buried and hidden by a Russian expedition a couple of years previously. The story is cleverly presented as a series of reports, sent to his superior, Herr Generalfieldmarschall, Willhem Keitel, and eventually from Major Joseph Müller, whose platoon is sent to find Eichmann’s expedition.

Sometimes less is more. ‘Bare Bones’, by Curtis James McConnell is just four pages, but it was my favourite in the book so far. How can the fully evolved Homo Sapiens skull be two million years old? What can our troubled scientists do with a discovery that completely invalidates everything they know about the evolutionary history of mankind? This one went straight into my personal list of best short stories of 2012.

Cherstin Hotzman’s ‘In Eden’ is a truly original zombie story with a difference. No flesh eating zombies these. It’s the old West, and in a small town named Eden, people were refusing to stay dead. They might go on forever, dead, but aware; their flesh rotting on their bones, until they either leave the town limits, or someone does something about it Only the sheriff seems to believe that something needs to be done, but if he fails to fix it, who will step up to help him?

‘Rebirth in Dreams’, by A.J. French, was interesting enough to have me searching Amazon for more of his work. It’s a weird metaphysical tale, which, in the words of the editor, is like a collaboration between Hunter S. Thompson and H.P. Lovecraft. Another one for my ongoing shortlist of the best short stories of the year.

Why did he insist that even his son refer to him as Dr. Phillips, and what is the terrible family tradition, passed down from father to son? ‘Sins of our Fathers’, by Wendra Chambers answers these questions in a manner which reminded me of a classic mystery/horror movie. Indeed, I could easily envision the cold, distant, secretive Dr. Phillips as played by Vincent Price.

‘Sumeria to the Stars’, by Jonathan Vos Post is an odd one. The author is a mathematician and Physicist. He packs his story with enough science to plough a highway over the heads of readers better educated than me. However, he manages to keep the science-blinded reader interested. Archaelogical evidence has been unearthed that shows the ancient Sumerians had knowledge of quantum physics and black holes. Teams of experts in various departments try to work out how. Was Von Daniken right? Was the Earth visited by an alien race, or was it time travellers from the future.

Joe R. Lansdale’s ‘The Tall Grass’ is one of the highlights of the collection. Why does the train stop in the middle of nowhere, for no reason? What is laying in wait for anyone who wanders too far away? It’s reminiscent of classic horror tales of an early time. Quiet, but creepy.

I made notes on all twenty-five stories as I read them. Then I brutally cut as many as I could from the final review, based on whether, or not I’d come up with anything more interesting to say about them, other than, “I liked it. It was really good.”

There are genuinely no bad stories in this book. Some of them I cut simply because I couldn’t think of much I could say about them without giving away too many spoilers. Several stories made it on to my best of the year shortlist and the book itself is now on my best anthologies of the year shortlist."

—David Brzeski, The British Fantasy Society;


The Horror Zine"Dark Tales of Lost Civilizations begins with an introduction by the book’s editor, Eric J. Guignard. The introduction is very well written. It asks poignant questions, and reads like a cross between a Rod Serling narrative and an article from the National Geographic magazine. In fact, Guignard continues introductions by placing one in front of each story to give it a brief synopsis. This is surprisingly effective and increases the interest by the reader.

This book is not horror. Instead, I would try to type it into a mix of the sci-fi and fantasy genre, along with a large helping of history. The premise of Dark Tales of Lost Civilizations is to showcase different tales of adventure and yes, lost civilizations, some ancient, some more recent and some futuristic. The stories can be compared to those of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Lost World and H. Rider Haggard’s King Solomon’s Mines.

Because this is an anthology of twenty-five stories, I don’t have room to critique them all. Therefore I will discuss my favorites in the order that they appeared in the book.

“Quivira” by Jackson Kuhl is a colorful and lively story that includes Sioux Native American folklore told with humor. Lyddy was in New Mexico on a quest for gold when “a man who resembles his twin” shows up dead. An entertaining story.

“Quetzalcoatl’s Conquistador” by Jamie Lackey is a realistic retelling of an actual historic event that originally took place in the 1500s. Spanish Conquistador Herman Cortez led an expedition that caused the fall of the Aztec Empire, and this story twists the truth…but only by a little. This is a well-researched yarn that is realistic and exciting.

“Gestures of Faith” by Fadzlishah Johanabas stands out for its beautifully descriptive prose. Johanabas, a neurosurgeon in Malaysa, manages to court us with flowery fiction that includes Isis, Mount Olypus, and an Oracle that talks to Poseidon. This story would appeal to fans of Middle Earth.

“Bare Bones” by Curtis James McConnell is one of my favorites in this book. Fast paced and humorous, this one is in-your-face with action. A two-million-year-old skull is found, or is it? Why does carbon dating say it is old, but its features say it is modern? Is it de-evolution or time travel? My only regret with McConnell’s story is that I didn’t grab it first for The Horror Zine.

“The Nightmare Orchestra” by Chelsea Armstrong is told from a child’s point of view. Skye doesn’t understand why his father forbids him to play with “the dreamers.” This story contains good character development and is a strange but compelling tale.

“Buried Treasure” by Rob Rosen is another personal favorite. What modern wonders of today will be archaic in the future? A 500-year-old map is the ticket to adventure. On a planet gone dry, water is worshipped as a god. But this water is man-made in a very surprising twist.

I was pleasantly surprised to see a story written by Joe R. Lansdale included in this book, who is one of my all-time favorite writers. And “The Tall Grass” lives up to Lansdale’s high standards of quality. I thoroughly enjoyed the character’s trip in 1901 on a train that always seems to break down in the middle of the night at a prairie of tall grass. The excitement begins when a passenger decides to explore the grass, and encounters frightening creatures within. “The Tall Grass” is probably the one story in the book that could be classified as horror. A real gem.

Of course all anthologies have their share of clunkers, and this one certainly does. Some of the fiction in Dark Tales of Lost Civilizations delves into so many explanations that the stories are bogged down under the weight of details. Others go off on unnecessary tangents, making me think, “Huh? What is this story about?” And there were one or two that were so slow in pace that my eyes glazed over and I could barely keep them open. I was disappointed that Eric J. Guignard, an accomplished writer in his own right, did not include one of his own works.

But overall, this is an anthology worth your time. Which stories would be your favorites depends upon what time period in history fascinates you the most. Dark Tales of Lost Civilizations seems to cover a lot of interesting ground, from ancient Mount Olympus to modern day. I liked this book and believe you will too."

—Jeani Rector, The Horror Zine;


Ginger Nuts of Horror"This is a brilliant anthology of 25 stories that will capture the hearts and imagination of anyone who grew up like I did on a diet of Boys Own Adventures, Alan Quatermaine, and other tales of derring-do. Grab a copy of this book and let your imagination run free for a time."

—Ginger Nuts of Horror, book reviews;


Black Gate Magazine"Many readers might think they knew what to expect from this book, just from the title. They would be wrong. Mr. Guignard does an astonishing job of expanding the apparent range of his title into a varied and colorful collection of almost everything under the sun, or rather, everything hidden away from the sun.

Who knew there were so many kinds of lost civilizations? The civilizations visited in these stories range from historically documented civilizations—either trampled under the march of history, as in Jamie Lackey’s story, “Quetzalcoatl’s Conquistador,” or active participants in the trampling, as in “The Funeral Procession” by Jay R. Thurston—to the entirely mythical, like that of “Gilgamesh and the Mountain” by Bruce L. Priddy. In between these two extremes, we find an intriguing half historical, half legendary lost society in Jackson Kuhl’s “Quivira”.

There are lost civilizations drawn from uncharted islands (”The Island Trovar” by JC Hemphill), from nameless ruins reeking of antiquity and better left unexplored (”The Door Beyond the Water” by David Tallerman or “Königreich der Sorge or Kingdom of Sorrow” by C. Deskin Rink) or even from fictional sources like Oz (”Directions” by Michael G. Cornelius).
Nor is it just the lost civilizations themselves that are varied. Rather, it is the changing mood and tone that keeps this anthology so fresh. The reader assumes there will be horror (since it is mentioned in the subtitle) and will not be disappointed by Chelsea Armstrong’s “The Nightmare Orchestra”. The reader also suspects there will be something spooky, and Joe R. Lansdale provides a deliciously creepy yarn in “The Tall Grass”.

But most readers will not expect a laugh-out-loud futuristic comedy like Gitte Christenson’s “Whale of a Time”. While it is not surprising that most of these tales deal with magic, or at least with a lost technology so advanced it might as well be magic, in “Sumeria to the Stars” by Jonathan Vos Post. we find a hard science SF tale. There is no horror, or even real magic, in “To Run a Stick Through a Fish” by Mark Lee Pearson, only bittersweet grace. And nobody could possibly expect the sheer quirky originality of “Bare Bones” by Curtis James McConnell.

Almost any story in this anthology, whether the fourteen cited above or the eleven left for the reader to discover, is worth the price of purchase. The entire collection is a delight. Kudos to Mr. Guignard for assembling it."

—Michaele Jordan, Black Gate;

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