Nebraska city, 1901.
There’s a curse on Arbor Lodge—an elusive demon reclaiming the illustrious home in the name of the prairie—and its owner, J. Sterling Morton, proud statesman, is desperate.
It couldn’t be more fortuitous for lumberjack Neville, whose greatest desire is to prove himself a true man to the world. Morton offers respect, security, pride, even the father figure Neville never had; and all the lumberjack has to do is find and kill this creature.
There’s no doubt in Neville’s mind that he deserves to rise to the status of legend. He will prevail. It’s in his blood.
Or else, his blood will be in the prairie.
A land forged in blood can only call for blood in turn.
Equal parts horror, bizarre, and historical, Anthony Engerbretson’s “Lumberjack” takes the reader to the early 20th century in Nebraska. Neville is a lumberjack on a mission: to kill an elusive creature near the Arbor Lodge on behalf of statesman J. Sterling Morton.
Unfortunately, Neville may be the hunted. And the land calls for blood to feed it. From the very first page, Engerbretson embraces the sheer madness of the premise. Painting a portrait of lush plains and thick woods, our author takes us to the heart of a still-wild frontier with horrors lurking where man cannot reach.
But Engerbretson ensures that this is a story with soul at the center. Neville is the heart of the tale, and his burning need for validation and respect. To obtain these, Neville goes to obsessive lengths and his insanity is steadily unveiled to the reader.
And Engerbretson utilizes this madness to blur the lines between objective reality and subjective points of view. The author’s attention to the historical accuracy, in all its unsavory nature, only deepens a feeling of disturbing authenticity at the heart of “Lumberjack.”
Little by little, the book devours the reader as surely as the woods consume Neville’s troubled mind. Engerbretson builds the dread like a master and ensures the reader discovers the consequences of when men attempt to master the nature that is beyond them.
“Lumberjack” creeps like a shadow through the trees, but it hits like an axe. An unmissable read.