Epeolatry Book Review: The Door in the Mountain by Chris Cornetto


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Title: The Door in the Mountain: A Fantasy Novella
Author: Chris Cornetto
Genre: Dark Fantasy, Horror
Publisher: Of Metal and Magic Publishing
Release Date: April 4th, 2023

Synopsis: Some things lost should not be found, no matter what the wind tells you.
Down on his luck and out of food, Rorik is resigned to sell his only heirloom—a family ring with a mysterious symbol. When a stranger invites him to seek a dead man’s fortune, he sees his chance at last. But as his fellow treasure hunters start turning up dead, Rorik finds himself with more to fear than cliffs and ice. There’s no turning back. Not when the wind whispers of destiny.
The Door in the Mountain is a dark, character-driven fantasy adventure in the vein of Abercrombie, with a dash of Lovecraft for spice. Step off the edge of the map into the wraith-haunted frontier, where madness and death await the unwary. Come seek the Door, but think twice before looking within.

Many of us horror geeks grew up absolutely loving Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. I ate that stuff up, read them multiple times intermixed with multiple titles for R.L. Stine’s Goosebumps series. It wasn’t until college, when I read King’s Dark Tower series that I really dove into more mature horror and pretty much stopped reading fantasy for quite a while. But, one could argue that The Dark Tower is fantasy. And, yes, it is. But it is not that classic Tolkien high fantasy. There are influences in there, but it is also very much western and horror and even urban fantasy. Eventually all of us who grew up loving that sweet sweet high fantasy get a hunger to return to those wonderful roots and re-read LOTR and venture into what modern fantasy has become since we departed all those years ago.


And, sometimes we want to mix things up. Not like King’s work is a mix of every existing genre possible. But something a bit Dungeons and Dragons and a bit cosmic horror. Chris Cornetto provides us with that exact stew of awesome in his novella The Door in the Mountain.


Readers follow along as a party of adventurers of varying moralities strike out to find a lost treasure somewhere in the cold mountains. The roguish Rorik and the young Nym must work together to survive not only the icy cold, but also the blades of their fellow party members to reach the prize.


The story has a very grimdark feel to it, but with much more heavy horror vibe then found in other grimdark fantasy like A Song of Ice and Fire. And it works very well. This gives me hope that more authors will explore this specific blend of genres with success. It is also very exciting that this novel is set in a setting shared by other works published by Of Metal and Magic Publishing.

Anyone with a love for both horror and good old fashioned epic fantasy will love Chris Cornetto’s The Door in the Mountain.


Available from Amazon.

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