Saturday, September 11, 2010

Friday Freebie: "In the Valley of the Kings" by Terrence Holt

Congratulations to Andrew Beck, winner of Rick Bass' Nashville Chrome, last week's Friday Freebie book giveaway.

This week's Friday Freebie is a new paperback copy of Terrence Holt's short story collection In the Valley of the Kings.  I haven't had the chance to dip into any of the stories yet, but--just from skimming a few of the opening lines--they appear to be unlike anything else on my bookshelf.

Here's what the publisher has to say on its website:
In the Valley of the Kings marks the extraordinary debut of Terrence Holt, who fifteen years ago abandoned a promising writing career to practice medicine.  Moved by his patients’ valor in the face of death, seeking to comprehend the mysteries revealed at their bedside, Holt has taken up fiction again.  He emerges now with this astonishing collection of one novella and seven short stories that explore the farthest reaches of the imagination in a style that recalls the nineteenth-century American masters.   Holt leaps across genres and millennia, from small-town America to deep space, daring his readers to journey with him into realms as mysterious as they are unforgettable.  The opening story, “‘Ο Λογοσ,” is a chilling account of the last days of the human race, as the hospitalization of a little girl in a New England town heralds a terrifying plague, transmitted not by a microbe but by a single word.  The final story, “Apocalypse,” returns to small-town New England and another vision of the end, in an intimate account of how a couple struggles to live and love under the shadow of the Earth’s approaching doom.  In between, these stories range from outer space, where—in “Charybdis”—an astronaut alone on a doomed NASA mission comes to terms with his fate, to the Egyptian desert of the title novella, where an archaeologist seeks a fabulous tomb that holds the secret of immortality.  Painting with lurid colors and finely crafted prose, Holt offers his readers haunting visions of the reefs and abysses of the human imagination.  In the Valley of the Kings redefines the art of the story, throwing aside the rules in search of the enduring truths that ultimately make stories worth reading.
If you'd like a chance at winning a copy of In the Valley of the Kings, all you have to do is answer this question:

Name the three 19th-century writers compared to Holt in the Library Journal's review.  The answer can be found by clicking HERE and scrolling down to "Endorsements and Reviews."

Email your answer to

Put FRIDAY FREEBIE in the e-mail subject line.  One entry per person, please.  In order to give everyone a fair shake in the contest, please e-mail the answer, rather than posting it in the comments section.  The contest closes at midnight on Sept. 16, at which time I will place all the correct respondents in a vintage potato-chip tin (which has been certified and approved for use by the North American Gaming Regulators Association*) and draw the winning name.  I'll announce the lucky reader on Sept 17.
*Not really, but my wife did say it was okay to borrow it from her collection of vintage antiques, as long as I put it back when I was done.

1 comment:

  1. David, Thanks for sharing this title! I'll have to check it out for inclusion in my offerings of additional reading recommendations for my high school students. It will tie in well with H.G. Wells' Time Machine and Ray Bradbury's ... well, just about any of Ray Bradbury's...