New Treasures: Hooting Grange by Jeffrey E. Barlough
Hooting Grange, eleventh volume in Jeffrey E. Barlough’s Northern Lights series,
published March 2021 by Gresham & Doyle. Cover “The Close Gate” by Ernest William Haslehust.
One of the most popular fantasy series in the Black Gate offices these days doesn’t come from a major Manhattan publisher. In fact, it doesn’t come from traditional publishing at all. For the last 23 years Jeffrey E. Barlough has quietly been writing one of the strongest and most unusual fantasy epics on the market, put out by tiny California publishing house Gresham and Doyle.
Jackson Kuhl describes the eleven volume Northern Lights series as “kinda-sorta gaslamp fantasy, except there doesn’t seem to be any natural gas. Barlough’s creation is best described as a Victorian Dying Earth — gothic and claustrophobic… mastodons and mylodons mixed with ghosts and gorgons.”
In his 2016 review of the opening volume, Fletcher Vredenburgh wrote:
Dark Sleeper… [is] a very strange and often funny trip through a weird and fantastical post-apocalyptic alternate reality. In Barlough’s fictional world the Ice Age never fully ended. With much of its north covered by ice and snow, medieval England sent its ships out around the world looking for new lands. Some of the most successful colonies were planted on the west coast of what we call North America. Devoid of people, it is instead home to great megafauna such as smilodons, megatheres, teratorns, and mammoths.
With great cities such as Salthead and Foghampton (located around the same places as Seattle and San Francisco), the western colonies flourished and expanded. Then, in 1839, terror struck from the heavens…
For nearly twenty years now Barlough has been creating a truly unique series that has seems to have escaped too many readers’ attention… If you have the slightest affinity for the works of Charles Dickens, Wilkie Collins, or the steampunk works of Tim Powers and James Blaylock, then I highly recommend Dark Sleeper.
The first three books in the series: Dark Sleeper, The House in the High Wood,
and Strange Cargo. Covers by Jeff Barson, Aleta Jenks, and Gregory Bridges
I’m pleased to see new volumes in the series continue to connect with modern readers. Here’s an excerpt from the first review of Hooting Grange to appear on Amazon.
Each of these books with minor exceptions is a treasure. If you like dark fantasy, gothic novels, classic British literature, Lovecraft and humorous novels, this series is something you should check out… My favorites are the first three books, Dark Sleeper, House in the High Wood, Strange Cargo and then Anchorwick. Hooting Grange is high up there in the list of my favorites in this amazing long running series. Highly recommended.
The books remain largely independent and can be read in any order. But if you’re the kind of reader who has to start at the beginning, you can try any of the first three books, all published by Ace. Here’ s the complete list.
- Dark Sleeper (1998)
- The House in the High Wood (2001)
- Strange Cargo (2004)
- Bertram of Butter Cross (2007)
- Anchorwick (2008)
- A Tangle in Slops (2011)
- What I Found at Hoole (2012)
- The Cobbler of Ridingham (2014)
- Where The Time Goes (2016)
- The Thing in the Close (2018)
- Hooting Grange (2021)
Our prior coverage of the series includes:
Dark Sleeper, reviewed by Fletcher Vredenburgh
The House in the High Wood
Anchorwick, reviewed by Jackson Kuhl
What I Found at Hoole
The Cobbler of Ridingham
The Cobbler of Ridingham, reviewed by Jackson Kuhl
Where the Time Goes
Where the Time Goes, reviewed by Jackson Kuhl
The Thing in the Close
Cataclysms, Ghosts and Monsters: An Interview With Jeffrey E. Barlough by Jackson Kuhl
Hooting Grange was published by Gresham & Doyle on March 23. 2021. It is 253 pages, priced at $14.95 in trade paperback. There is no digital edition. Learn more at the Western Lights website.
See all our coverage of the best new fantasy here.
Curiously, when I search my local library system for Dr. Barlough’s works, the only volumes that turn up are works about horses and dogs, from that veterinary medicine “sideline” of his. Guess I shall have to put his works on my (eternal) “Books to look for” list and haunt more used bookstores and convention dealer rooms. Pity me!
Truthfully the books are getting a little harder to track down. Gresham & Doyle doesn’t even have a website. and you can’t order directly from them. The first three books have not been reprinted.
The good news is that (at least for now) eBay still has all three of the original Ace volumes available from sellers under $6 each:
Not sure about the series, but I love that cover!
Indeed a beautiful and very attractive cover!
Indeed a beautiful and very attractive cover!
I read the first three years ago. Great books. i would highly recommend them. i wish that they would come out on the Kindle. All of my reading these days is on my Ereader.
Thanks for the review and series overview. Man, they are different. Honestly, I still get goosebumps from thinking about “The House in the High Wood”. Haunts me to this moment.
I might add in that “Strange Cargo” goes a ways to explaining the backstory to the world Barlough has created.
May there be many more of these gems to come.