Vernacular Books is thrilled to present Jason Marc Harris’s dark fantasy/horror novella Master of Rods and Strings.
A semifinalist in Psychopomp’s 2015 short fiction competition and a quarterfinalist in Screencraft.org’s 2018 Cinematic Short Story contest, Master of Rods and Strings has been called:
“Strange and compelling [ . . . ] a fantastic foray into the realm of occult puppetry. Like Patrick Suskind’s Perfume, this book is memorable for its vivid sensory detail and portrayal of an obsessive protagonist exploring an arcane world.”-Susan Hubbard, author of the Ethical Vampire Series.
“A masterful work the likes of which I have not read in many years. Among its other admirable qualities, it is an adept exemplar of the novella, a literary form peculiarly suited to tales of dark and mysterious themes, among them being Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Henry James’s Turn of the Screw, Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, and Shirley Jackson’s We Have Always Lived in the Castle, as well as numerous other works of a nightmarish or fantastical nature. In captivating and expert prose, Master of Rods and Strings brings to life a world where the enchantment of puppetry inexorably descends into a magical perdition.”–Thomas Ligotti
As an editor, it’s hard to describe the thrill of finding a manuscript like Harris’ Master of Rods and Strings while combing through the slush pile. The evolution of the protagonist takes the reader to depths they may find uncomfortable while performing that most masterful of writerly tricks: getting the audience to cheer on the dark hero.
Jealous of the attention lavished upon the puppetry talents of his dear sister—and tormented by visions of her torture at the hands of his mysterious Uncle Pavan, who recruited her for his arcane school—Elias is determined to learn the true nature of occult puppetry, no matter the hideous costs, in order to exact vengeance.
Categories: Our Books