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In DARK TALES OF LOST CIVILIZATIONS, you will unearth an anthology of twenty-five previously unpublished horror and speculative fiction stories, relating to aspects of civilizations that are crumbling, forgotten, rediscovered, or perhaps merely spoken about in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

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 are presented within this critically acclaimed anthology by the enclosed authors.


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
(with interior illustration by Ron Perovich)


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

-David Brin, author of Earth, The Postman, and Otherness.

270 pages, Paperback

First published March 1, 2012

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About the author

Eric J. Guignard

148 books503 followers
ERIC J. GUIGNARD is a writer and editor of dark and speculative fiction, operating from the shadowy outskirts of Los Angeles, where he also runs the small press, Dark Moon Books. He’s twice won the Bram Stoker Award (the highest literary award of horror fiction), won the Shirley Jackson Award, and been a finalist for the World Fantasy Award and International Thriller Writers Award for his works of dark and speculative fiction.

He has over one hundred stories and non-fiction author credits appearing in publications around the world. As editor, Eric’s published multiple fiction anthologies, including his most recent, Pop the Clutch: Thrilling Tales of Rockabilly, Monsters, and Hot Rod Horror , and A World of Horror , a showcase of international horror short fiction.

He currently publishes the acclaimed series of author primers created to champion modern masters of the dark and macabre, Exploring Dark Short Fiction ( Vol. I: Steve Rasnic Tem ; Vol. II: Kaaron Warren ; Vol. III: Nisi Shawl ; Vol. IV: Jeffrey Ford ; Vol. V: Han Song ; Vol. VI: Ramsey Campbell).

He is also publisher and acquisitions editor for the renowned +Horror Library+ anthology series. Additionally he curates the series, The Horror Writers Association Presents: Haunted Library of Horror Classics through SourceBooks with co-editor Leslie S. Klinger.

His latest books are Last Case at a Baggage Auction ; Doorways to the Deadeye ; and short story collection That Which Grows Wild (Cemetery Dance).

Outside the glamorous and jet-setting world of indie fiction, Eric’s a technical writer and college professor, and he stumbles home each day to a wife, children, dogs, and a terrarium filled with mischievous beetles. Visit Eric at: www.ericjguignard.com, his blog: ericjguignard.blogspot.com, or Twitter: @ericjguignard.

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5 stars
47 (49%)
4 stars
33 (34%)
3 stars
12 (12%)
2 stars
1 (1%)
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2 (2%)
Displaying 1 - 19 of 19 reviews
Profile Image for Mark Pearson.
Author 10 books4 followers
July 22, 2012
One of the best collections of dark fiction I have read in recent years. Eric J. Guigard did a fine job pulling together such an eclectic mix of stories. Each author has a completely different take on the theme, yet as an anthology it holds together extremely well. Personal favourites; Quetzalcoatl's Conquistador by Jamie Lackey and British Guiana, 1853 by Folly Blaine. I will read this book again soon.
Profile Image for Anita Patel.
29 reviews6 followers
April 4, 2013
I have lately been overwhelmed with the amount of good books I want to read and when I do have the infrequent free time to just sit and read for pleasure, I want to make sure my time is well spent with something I enjoy. This book fits just that: a perfect read to escape the real world and travel to lands long-lost. I felt excitement as I read these stories as if they were written specifically for me. Each author has different opinions on ancient mysteries and folklore and scientific discovery but the editor did a really well job of combining the right stories in tone so that they flowed together. This book is another must read.
Profile Image for Eva.
Author 5 books22 followers
November 9, 2012
Overall, this is a very strong anthology with several impactful pieces that will appeal to a wide spectrum of genre fiction readers. Dark Tales of Lost Civilizations has a little bit of something for everyone, and left me very impressed and enriched after having read it. Check out my blog for the full review.
32 reviews1 follower
March 23, 2012
An amazing book to read! This book was recommended to me through a book review club and I agree with their recommendation: It is a wonderful collection of exotic stories. This is an anthology (which means a collection of stories) that explores fictional answers and lore to some of the greatest mysteries and civilizations in history. It has a bent to horror and to archaeology, so if you enjoy dark fiction AND tales of science or discovery, this is for you! Not all of the stories are horror - some are very thoughtful and some are downright funny. Sins of our Fathers (by Wendra Chambers) was exceptional writing. Königreich der Sorge (Kingdom of Sorrow) by C. Deskin Rink was scary. Some other favorites are Quivira by Jackson Kuhl and Whale of a Time by Gitte Christensen and Joe Lansdale's story, was good (as is everything he writes).
Profile Image for Kenneth Cain.
Author 92 books209 followers
December 12, 2012
I picked up a copy of this book via the Horror Writer's Association Bram Stoker Award® 2012 recommendation list. This is a strong collection of stories Mr. Guignard has collected here and I enjoyed his comments for each (Side note: quite impressed by Jonathan Vos Post's notes and resume). I very much enjoyed "Quivira," "Quetzalcoatl's Conquistador," "Bare Bones" and Mr. Lansdale's tale among others. While everyone's taste is different, I liked the overall feel of these stories best, but all of the stories were written well and gelled well together. I would recommend this to any fan of dark fiction in need of a little discovery.
Profile Image for Vivian Metzger.
23 reviews1 follower
March 22, 2012
I like this book a lot! Read the entire book in one day - just couldn't put it down. It was very unique, and poignant stories relating to lots of old civilizations and mysteries. Some of the tales were horror, some very touching, and some funny. The editor brought together a very eclectic mix of writers from around the world to discuss fictional takes on ancient civilizations and peoples. Great idea for a collection of stories and well executed.
Profile Image for Jonathan Stewart.
65 reviews4 followers
May 31, 2013
Excellent anthology of stories set in different lands and times, such as lost islands, futuristic deserts, ancient jungles, or laboratories of science. Although it’s classified as horror, none of the stories are gory or rely on “cheap scares.” The stories are more of adventure and exploration with dark “suggested” terror interwoven throughout. Highly recommended, especially if you are a fan of H. Rider Haggard, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Talbot Mundy, Conan Doyle, Anne Rice, or H.P. Lovecraft.
Profile Image for Christopher  Nelson.
75 reviews4 followers
May 29, 2012
The quality of stories that Eric Guignard has gathered makes this collection a real treat. This is is definitely not the run-of-the-mill anthology. Fine literature combined with evocative story-telling leave each piece well rendered and in a voice unique to each author. Well done, Mr. Guignard.
Profile Image for Jimmy Tam.
12 reviews26 followers
April 15, 2013
One of the best anthologies I've read in awhile. Not every story was boss, but ut was one awesome collection of new and retold legends and archaeology and ghosts of lost worlds and... civilizations. Just like the title of the book says: Dark Tales of Lost Civilizations. ;)
Profile Image for Resa.
270 reviews13 followers
June 29, 2012
I was first approached to review this anthology for my e-zine Zombie Coffee, initially I was a little wary about it. History has never been my favorite subject, which led to historical fiction being one of my least favorite genres. Still, I decided to give this anthology a try because something about it intrigued me, and I’m very glad I continued reading because there are some gems in this book I’m glad I had the chance to discover.

Dark Tales of Lost Civilizations is a horror/speculative fiction anthology that focuses on lost civilizations and unanswered mysteries. Have you ever wondered what happened to the lost city of Atlantis? Wondered what power erased whole civilizations from the face of the ancient world? Considered that some ancient powers aren’t lost but just dormant? If so than this is the anthology for you. You’ll find a wide array of authors from the popular names you’ll recognize, to the lesser known, to the newly published. I have to admit there were some stories I didn’t like personally, but all the stories are well written and diverse. That’s my favorite thing about anthologies, while you may not like everything there’s something for everyone.

Here are a few of my favorites:

“The Nightmare Orchestra” by Chelsea Armstrong takes nightmares to a personal level. What if the things which populate our nightmares used to live out in the real world? Well, Armstrong answers that question in a well crafted short story that will have you waking up in the middle of the night for new reasons…

“The Small, Black God” by Caw Miller takes you on an adventure in newly discovered ruins where the black god of ego begins to call to the scholars unearthing the ruins. Miller crafts a very unique tale that will leave you wondering what kind of retribution would the black god take on your ego…

“We Are Not the Favored Children” by Matthew Borgard is another story I loved. It deals with a society that has revolved around gods, only to find out that not only have they abandoned their religion, but their gods have abandoned them.

If none of these stories sound like ones you’d enjoy never fear. At 240 pages Dark Tales of Lost Civilizations is home to many other short stories for you to unearth for yourself. Eric Guignard has put together a diverse collection of stories for your reading pleasure and it would make a great addition to your summer reading list. Especially if your summer plans include a visit to the ruins of any ancient civilizations…
Profile Image for Michael Flores.
55 reviews24 followers
April 2, 2013
Masterful anthology. There's really something for everyone in this eclectic collection. I was pleasantly surprised by this book. I bought it for some good ol' chills and thrills which were abundant. DARK TALES OF LOST CIVILIZATIONS represents solid fiction.
Some of my favorites were:
We Are Not the Favored Children by Matthew Borgard
Quetzalcoatl's Conquistador by Jamie Lackey
The Small, Black God by Caw Miller
Bare Bones by Curtis James McConnell
Directions by Michael G. Cornelius
Angel of Destruction by Cynthia D. Witherspoon
Profile Image for Tara Baloun-keenum.
1 review1 follower
July 19, 2012

Great book!! Mind blowing twists and turns. Stories are all so different but yet hold the readers attention for hours!!!
Profile Image for Leta Blake.
Author 63 books1,518 followers
October 9, 2012
I enjoyed all the tales. A special favorite was "Sins of Our Fathers" by Wendra Chambers. Fantastic!
Profile Image for Pat.
1,169 reviews
September 3, 2016
Just what the title says-a collection of tales of the dark side of exploration, whether scientific or geographical. I wasn't familiar with any of the authors, so appreciated that each story began with an intro from the editor and ended with author's biographical information. All the stories were very well-written and nicely scary, with some surprising twists. Eric Guignard did well as an editor to assemble these treasures.
I received a complimentary copy of this book in order to review it.
Profile Image for Jeff Carter.
Author 24 books23 followers
February 13, 2013
History and Horror...is there a greater combination? Is there a difference between the two? Either way, I can't get enough of it.

Dark Tales of Lost Civilizations has enough chills and kills for the most intrepid explorer. My personal favorites were QUIVIRA by Jackson Kuhl, QUETZALCOATL'S CONQUISTADOR by Jamie Lackey, THE SMALL,BLACK GOD by Caw Miller, and WE ARE NOT THE FAVORED CHILDREN by Matthew Borgard. I could go on, but these were at the top of the pyramid for me.

Profile Image for J.J. Toner.
Author 40 books137 followers
July 10, 2012
Excellent content, on the whole, but I spotted a few annoying typos here and there. I thought the later stories were stronger than the earlier ones.
24 reviews2 followers
January 27, 2019
Rating: 8/10 (4 stars)
Finished/Review: 2018-12-31

This is an original and interesting theme to put up in an anthology. I enjoyed it for the most part. As usual, in anthologies, that are some stories better than others but the best ones are really good and there are quite a few of them making the book worth reading.
I started reading this book, back in 2012 and I didn't take notes about my early readings. I then made a pause for a few years and then I started taking notes about each story. That is why only the latest stories have an individual comment about them.
Here is the list of the stories with their authors followed by my rating (scale: 1-10) when there is one. All the ones that I really enjoyed are rated (above 7/10).

Brief review of the stories
01. Angel of Destruction (Cynthia D. Witherspoon) - 8/10

02. The Door Beyond the Water (David Tallerman)

03. To Run a Stick Through a Fish (Mark Lee Pearson)

04. Quivira (Jackson Kuhl)

05. Directions (Michael G. Cornelius)

06. Quetzalcoatl's Conquistador (Jamie Lackey)

07. Königreich der Sorge (Kingdom of Sorrow) (C. Deskin Rink) - 8/10

08. Gestures of Faith (Fadzlishah Johanabas) - 9/10
This is an alternative history for the city of Atlantis. I really enjoyed this one.

09. Bare Bones (Curtis James McConnell)

10. British Guiana, 1853 (Folly Blaine) - /10

11. The Nightmare Orchestra (Chelsea Armstrong) - 5/10
This one was very odd. It was also dealing with dead people and very bloody, perhaps a bit too much for my taste. It remembered me of the book “Dead and Buried”, which was also a bit morbid, but had a reason for being so.

12. The Funeral Procession (Jay R. Thurston) - 10/10
It's an alternative history regarding Gengis Khan.
It has all the right ingredients so I think it could easily be converted to a full novel.
One of the best stories in this book. A must read!

13. Requiem (Jason Andrew)

14. Gilgamesh and the Mountain (Bruce L. Priddy)

15. Buried Treasure (Rob Rosen)

16. The Small, Black God (Caw Miller) - 10/10
A statue is more than it seems... One of the best stories in the book!

17. In Eden (Cherstin Holtzman) - 2/10
Western scenario in which some zombies live unaware of their condition.
It didn't make much sense to me and there was no emotion or thrill. I think this is the worst story in the book.

18. We Are Not the Favored Children (Matthew Borgard) - 9/10
Gods abandoned a native tribe but there's a woman determined to find out why.
I really enjoyed this one.

19. Rebirth in Dreams (A.J. French) - 6/10
A man wants to really understand the world through a mystical drug...
This is an interesting story that should have been further developed.

20. Whale of a Time (Gitte Christensen) - 9/10
This is a curious story about an alternative and surprising type of alien invasion.
It was properly structured in chapters that could easily allow the expansion of the story into a novel. It is original and refreshing, although a bit implausible.
I quite liked the style of writing: funny with lots of ironical remarks and vivid speeches.
There was also action and even a short romance.
All in all, it had all the major ingredients of a full novel, but compressed in a short format and concise writing. It stands as another proof that wordier does not mean better.

21. Sins of our Fathers (Wendra Chambers) - 6/10
The mystery is well developed. It's not bad, but it just didn't grab me.

22. The Talisman of Hatra (Andrew S. Williams) - 10/10
I loved it, short and simple! It is a very good example that longer and wordier stories are not necessarily better.
This is exactly what this anthology is all about: ancient civilizations and their societies.

23. Sumeria to the Stars (Jonathan Vos Post) - 5/10
I really wanted to like this, but unfortunately the author got so deeply entranced into the mathematics exposition that he actually forgot about telling a story... and that should be what story telling is all about, right?

24. The Tall Grass (Joe R. Lansdale) - 8/10
The theme of this story is not original: monster (ghostly?) creatures ready to devour human beings.
However, the set-up is original and very well described. Things evolve rapidly but they still make sense. I quite liked this one.

25. The Island Trovar (JC Hemphill) - 10/10
This is one of the best stories of this book.
As the Editor said, it really embodies the spirit of adventure and search for the unknown that this book is all about.
It shows something that is still unexplored for a good reason... A must read!
Profile Image for Heather Miller.
Author 2 books75 followers
September 18, 2022
My review for this one is going to be short for the simple reason that this particular subgenre is not one of my favorites. Please don't take that to mean this book is not good, because it absolutely is.

This collection is full of tales of peoples and places long-forgotten. Some are real places lost to the mystery of history, some are imaginary worlds in which the ravages of time have all but erased the evidence of certain locales and beliefs. One or two even take place in imagined futures in which our own time is seen as the past.

The writing is flawless; anthologist Eric J. Guignard knows how to pick and assemble a group of stories around a common theme. I think fans of alternate histories, fictional mythologies, and fantasy/sci-fi horror will find this a fascinating book full of unique stories.
Profile Image for Eden.
167 reviews
September 14, 2021
Found it to be incredibly hit and miss and also not quite what I was looking for...the few gems such as the Lansdale story I had read in other collections so a bit lacklustre overall
Displaying 1 - 19 of 19 reviews

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