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Bewildering Stories

Joe Queenan reviews...

Jack Alcott’s Grim Legion

A short while ago, a ripping yarn called Grim Legion: Edgar Allan Poe at West Point came across my desk. Published by Bewildering Press, a relatively new firm that specializes in “speculative” writing, Grim Legion recounts the rousing adventures of the future author of “The Fall of the House of Usher” shortly before he was expelled from the United States Military Academy in 1831.

A bit of a screw-up, though not yet the morbid, self-destructive alcoholic he would later become, Poe has stumbled upon a monstrous plot by a shadowy organization called the Helvetian Society whose ultimate objective is nothing short of... well... monstrous.

The Helvetians have already been involved in several gruesome murders, with Sergeant Major Poe the prime suspect, as fragments of his lurid poetry keep turning up on the corpses. Now Poe and his brother, Henry, must join forces to foil the heinous Helvetians. Luckily, just when things look their bleakest, the lads receive aid from a most unlikely quarter, as Robert E. Lee, himself a recent West Point grad, rolls into town and helps to restore truth, justice and the American way. [...]

I have always had a soft spot in my heart for books like Grim Legion, fanciful novels by amateur historians that seek to reimagine the past. They make excellent introductory reading for youngsters who are not yet ready to tackle the major works of literature, and superb Christmas gifts. [...]

excerpted from the New York Times, April 8, 2007

We hasten to express our gratitude to Mr. Queenan on behalf of Bewildering Stories and Bewildering Press for his appreciation of Grim Legion in this national newspaper.


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