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Between Two Fires

4.02  ·  Rating details ·  1,573 ratings  ·  300 reviews
His extraordinary debut, Those Across the River, was hailed as “genre-bending Southern horror” (California Literary Review), “graceful [and] horrific” (Patricia Briggs). Now Christopher Buehlman invites readers into an even darker age—one of temptation and corruption, of war in heaven, and of hell on earth…

And Lucifer said: “Let us rise against Him now in all our numbers,
Hardcover, 432 pages
Published October 2nd 2012 by Ace
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Kelsey Smellsy I would say that it depends. B2F certainly grabbed me right from the beginning--it opens on a very grim, absolutely terrible scene *about* to unfold,…moreI would say that it depends. B2F certainly grabbed me right from the beginning--it opens on a very grim, absolutely terrible scene *about* to unfold, and Buehlman did an incredible job developing a sense of dread and anxiety. It's very character-focused, so the plot is a bit of a mystery/slow burn kind of deal for both you and the characters. But the character development starts right out of the gate. This is an old question, but it really is an absolutely brilliant fantasy/historical horror and I definitely recommend it if you have no read it yet.(less)

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4.02  · 
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Warning: this review is a somewhat organized emotional blabbering and fan-girling over a book. As usual. Includes fanart done by me...again.


Better resolution:

When I first read the synopsis for Between Two Fires I thought: “Hmmm, a dark historical fiction, mixed with horror and religious mumbo-jumbo". Not something I usually even consider checking up on. Then I looked at my pile of recently read books and saw way too many fairies, dragons and unic
Anna Janelle
Sep 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: first-reads

It's just that kind of book. And I mean that in the most positive, enthusiastic way possible. HOLY 'EFFING SHIT. THIS IS AN EPIC BOOK THAT LEAVES YOU SLACK-JAWED AND QUEASY.

Large disclaimer: Keep your kids away from this book. Like, away away. If you don't want them terrified to sleep, terrified to die, terrified of monsters, and using foul, foul, foul language, keep them AWAY away. Keep your faint of heart virginal readers away. Only start the quest if you intend to see it through. Because HOLY
Featuring some of the craziest scenes I've ever read, I don't know how this author has escaped my attentions until recently.

I checked out this audio from my library, immediately after finishing Those Across the River. I knew nothing about it, except that it was written by Christopher Buehlman. I'm glad that I went into it that way, because otherwise I might have passed on this story altogether.

I feel I should warn people that no religion is free from mockery here, while at the same time, I feel
aPriL does feral sometimes
Never has it been made more clear than in 'Between Two Fires' the genre category of apocalyptic religious literature is at its heart nothing but a fantastically imaginative horror story waiting to be shaped for modern readers. The myths of historical (maybe that should be 'hysterical') Christianity were simply needing the right storyteller to reveal the true face of the Apocalypse in all its gory glory! He is here! Have you been looking for another writer who is a satisfying successor to Stephen ...more
Chris Berko
Nov 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I'm in awe. Simply amazing. I experienced such a range of emotions reading this and almost wept at the end. Beautiful, lyrically and poetic but also scary, grimy and terrifying. An incredible writer with serious talent.
Reseña en español más abajo.

One of the best books I've read this year.

Between Two Fires is a perfect mixture of horror, dark fantasy and historical fiction. When I started reading this book I've my doubts about what was the big deal about the so-called horror scenes that the reviewers mentioned... but trust me, it doesn't take many chapters for some very fucked up satanic sh*t to happen.
The characters of this book are awesome: a fallen and dishonored knight, a young girl whose father died due
Jun 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
I want to use the word allegory even though I am not entirely sure of its meaning. This was an allegory of Satan's rebellion against the Heavens here on Earth, an explanation for the Great Plague, famine and war that swept France (and Europe) during the 14 th century. This is a Dante-esque version of Hell on Earth. It is fantastical, dark, violent. The demons and monsters were throughly creepy ( I'm glad there was no one to see the faces I caught myself pulling during certain scenes of this book ...more
Jun 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
4.5, if not higher. Dark, profane, blasphemous, and captivating.

Partway through my Scribd free month wherein I tried to cram as many audiobooks in as possible (which ended up being about 4 and change), Fantasy Review Barn hosted T. Frohock in a Tough Traveling post that mentioned Between Two Fires. I’d stumbled across the book about a year ago and proceeded to do with any book I stumble across that looks interesting: toss it on the pile (pile in this
4 and a half. Aaaaalmost 5 stars.

So… that was different!

You could say that this is a book about a disgraced knight, an equally disgraced country-side priest and a really weird foundling trying to make their way to safety during the Black Death plague of 1348. But that would not be quite right, now would it? This is a moving and disturbing story about humanity, redemption, compassion and sacrifice. It’s well-written, dark and totally engrossing.

We like to romanticize the past, but really, the Mid
Jun 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Review Posted on Tenacious Reader

Holy Hell. This book. I’m not even sure where to begin. I found this in my library’s audiobook selection. Gave it a closer look as it seemed to be neither YA nor PNR. That’s quite an unusual (and desirable) find given my library’s more typical offerings. I went to check out what others thought of it on Goodreads. And. NONE of my 100+ genre reading Goodreads friends have read it. Seriously? This made me have some doubts. Surely if it was worth a read, someone woul
Mike (the Paladin)
This book is hard to classify. I've put it under fantasy (definitely), Alternate-History (sort of as it's full of supernatural happenings, maybe fantasy-history but I don't have a shelf for that), Horror (yes plus terror and also gross-outs). I didn't put it on the Christian theology shelf though there are some lessons here and I think many Christians will find the comes that word....interesting.

I went 4 stars here and it's in many ways very close to a 5 star read. There are some thi
Kate Quinn
Apr 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Four and a half stars. A curious, fascinating book that mixes fantasy, horror, and history in a deft, riveting blend. In the wasteland of medieval France, riddled by the aftermath of war and the horrors of the Black Death, a trinity of unlikely pilgrims come together: a cynical knight mourning the loss of family and honor, a fallen priest racked by both homosexuality and guilt, and a young girl who is most definitely something otherworldly. As she leads them on a quest to rediscover their own so ...more
Jan 23, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
A top notch read that meshes fantasy, horror and medieval history into an epic apocalyptic novel.

Mid-fourteenth century France is as close to hell as any place on Earth. English invaders have just wiped out a huge chunk of French forces at the Battle of Crecy, the Black Plague has descended on Europe, erasing 35%-60% of it’s population; pirates, brigands, and raiders murder, rape, and rob indiscriminately through the French countryside. Paranoia is at it’s zenith. Starvation is a fact of life. B
ijeoma Agbaje
Jul 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing

Thank you Thomas Stacey for this absolutely amazing rec. Again! Truly amazing.

This book was me stepping way out of my comfort zone. Honestly i thought of jumping ship simply because, this book is historical fiction and had a religious theme. Two things that would definitely guarantee me to tell a book:

"We all fall short of perfection. You. Me. Pere Matthieu. We all disappoint. Can we forgive only those who sinned against others"

The plot opens up in 14th Century France where Religion (read Cath
Original 2012 review: Often I get books that come in to work on hold for me & I have no idea why. In this case, I looked at this book while I was running holds, thought, Huh, never heard of that one, & the hold it pulled was for me. So. Turns out it was Emily who recommended this and for that I must say thank you, thank you, thank you!

This book was superb. The plague, zombies, divine & devilish intervention in everyday life, fallen knights, angels, a little girl who is also sort of
Apr 25, 2016 rated it really liked it
France 1348

The Black Death stalks the land.

What if God had turned away from humankind?

What if the Devil stepped in to wreak havoc?

Thomas, a disavowed knight turned bandit.
Matthieu, a disgraced priest.
And Delphine a young girl with a certain aura about her.
The two men join together to escort Delphine to Avignon where she knows she has to go but does not know why.
Dark, brooding and heavy with atmosphere. Add nightmares and demons to a land already ravaged by the plague and you have an great mi
Nov 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I never write reviews, ever. I feel that reading is subjective and not everyone can appreciate everything equally. That said, there are books you read from time to tome that are worth saying "WOW" and sharing it with others. This is a cross between Bernard Cornwell and Stephen King. The ending is superb IMHO. I have read all 3 of his books and liked them all but this one is one of my favorite books of all time.
Nov 26, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-i-own
To be perfectly honest, I have no idea what the hell I just read. I think it was deeply profound and probably changed my life, but I'm not sure yet. I'll have to read it at least twice more before I understand what actually happened. Of course I followed the plot, so I got it, but I didn't "get" it. To follow a book and to understand it are not always the same thing, which was profoundly demonstrated here.

This was very different from the author's first novel, Those Across the River. It's so dif
Oct 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing
BETWEEN TWO FIRES is a dark, alternate history, historical fantasy, horror tale rooted in Christian mythology. It is set in the 1300s, in a France ravaged by the Black Death. This book is haunting, disturbing, and gut-wrenching, with its in-depth exploration of the bleak landscape of poverty, famine, disease, anarchy. Calamity has the potential to arouse virtue but more often gives rise to villainy, perversion and depravity. The calamity on the ground is mirrored in heaven where angels and demon ...more
Nov 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this book. As a Medieval history buff, I usually don't care for Medieval fantasy fiction (aka swords & sorcery genre) and since I can't stand maudlin drivel or new-age quasi religious woo, I normally avoid books about angels like the plague. (Pun definitely intended.) But based on how much I enjoyed "Those Across The River", I decided to give this novel a chance despite the blurb on the back cover.

This is not a typical horror novel by any means: a disgra
Its kinda hard to define what exactly happened here. Reality here has many layers and since i didn't know that at the beginning i was left with much 'OMG AAHHHH!!!' *shock/surprise/disbelief* freak-out moments.

Because things where normal, just perfectly normal, until something small but terribly distorted happened that left me second guessing everything. Like, normal little things one moment, next moment they mix with reality and make it somehow horribly wrong! And the way its done, the charact
Apr 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
I've been trying to arrange my thoughts about this book into some kind of order, but it's not happening, so I'm just going to babble.

I was expecting something a lot more grim, and it is in places, but the color, the exuberance, and the humor make this book so much fun! Definitely, there is gore (lots of gore), death, abominations, tragedy, but there's also love, sacrifice, forgiveness, friendship, loyalty and so much more.

I adored Thomas and Delphine! I loved their prickly relationship. Both of
Oct 10, 2012 rated it really liked it
A 14th century apocalypse, beautifully realized. It's difficult to get into the mindset of an earlier, less scientfically knowledgeable era but Buehlman does it, giving his main character a voice and a perspective that is almost flawlessly medieval. One could argue, from the perspective of the 21st century, that some or even all of what Thomas experiences is hallucination, religious mania, fever dream or vision quest rather than real, but one cannot say it is not credible. The author has clearly ...more
Jan 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book is fantastic.

It's also deceptive. It pulls you along under the guise of horror, while in truth being a deeply personal story of love, redemption, and faith. It's a beautiful tale of a knight's journey towards purpose and peace, amidst the chaos of blight and pestilence.

The horror inside this story is all encompassing. It doesn't need to hide in shadows and strike out when people are alone. This horror rules the land, it strikes when it does, flying in the face of anyone who denies it
May 18, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: dark-fantasy
Once again Buehlman delivers a dark disturbing read. Having loved The Necromancer's House I was hoping that it wasn't a one off. Apparently not.
Buehlman has a way to keep you on edge, he always seems to be able to push the line of uncomfortable creepy and then backs you away with some relief dialogue between characters.

There is nothing soft and fluffy with this story, it is pure apocalypse, but 14th century France apocalypse. With a big religious back bone of good versus evil, long bow men, fi
Nov 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The year is 1348. The black death has gripped France and the 100 years war rages. Thomas, an old French knight turned brigand, comes across a mysterious young girl in a desolate Norman village. Through a series of peculiar events he agrees to follow her on a what she claims is a holy mission that will take them through Paris and to the pope in Avignon. Not an easy task given the circumstances, but the circumstances turn out to be so much worse than what they initially appear to be. God has aband ...more
Oct 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Astonishing. Simply astonishing. It's a horror novel that's also a Christian parable. If you remember the movie, "The Rapture" with Mimi Rogers; this is something like that but set in the Middle Ages at the time of the Black Death. Devils assault heaven and have taken the Pope. We follow a girl that's either a witch or holy, a fallen knight and a gay priest on their dangerous journey to save the world. Pageturner for sure. Nearly impossible to put down. I loved this novel.
Pam Brownlee
Jan 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, books-i-own
A well-crafted story, difficult to put down.The horrors were almost beyond bearing. I am wordlessly grateful for the hope.
Jason Golomb
This wonderful book by Christopher Buehlman is part fairy tale, part fantasy, part horror and part historical fiction. These individual parts blend to create a fulfilling whole in his Cantebury-an story of a fallen knight and spiritually lost priest who journey across France during the plague-ridden middle ages with an orphaned girl who's either an exceptionally special individual, a weird witch, or a gift (literally) from the heavens.

The emotional plot and backdrop is a beautifully diverse fren
Jul 14, 2015 rated it did not like it
Travel back to 14th century Europe as the Black Plague runs rampant, wiping out entire towns and leaving only ruin and heartbreak in its wake. Now, add a disgraced knight, a failed priest, and a girl on a mission from God to severe the hold Hell has upon the population. While I was initially intrigued by this story's premise, I was actually quite disappointed; I thought this was going to be a fantasy about our heroic trio marching around, vanquishing demons and bringing peace to the land and, wh ...more
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