The Abnegation Society

The Abnegation Society: Tale II from the Abyssal Black by Tom G.H. Adams

Imagine an organisation that exists purely to cater for their clients’ whims. It doesn’t matter how fantastical they might be, or how far they stray outside the boundaries of law. Ever wanted to hunt without restrictions? You’ve got it. What about human quarry? No problem. Fancy an up close and personal encounter with your victim? Then the Abnegation Society is for you.

Of course, you’ll pay a hefty premium for the service, and they don’t admit just anyone. If you get the right introduction and pass the vetting process, then the door will open to your most depraved and barbarous desires.

Blake Collins has particular urges. He also has the assets to afford this elite group’s services. But like any addiction, the craving for ever more intense experiences takes over. So when a colleague rubs him up the wrong way, he seeks to make them the subject of his next encounter. The Society is reluctant at first, but money talks, and the stage is set for a deadly enactment that promises to be Collins’ most immersive yet.

From the author of Mycophoria and the Psychonaut trilogy comes the latest novelette in the ‘Abyssal Black’ series. Receive your invitation to sample what the Abnegation Society has to offer, but be prepared, you may end up having to close your eyes to the horrors it reveals.

Caution: this is an 18+ story of intense horror and violence, and is not for the easily offended.

The IndieMuse Review

The first tale in Tom G.H. Adams’ new series Tales from the Abyssal Black introduced readers to an otherworldly library of stories forged from souls. The lead character in this series is a seeker, an apprentice, who now is tasked with the responsibility of reading stories of each soul’s passing collected in this library. And this library is filled with stories of hellbound souls which he is assigned to read to procure their passing.

Each volume in this series is a story within a story. The series details the progression of the seeker’s assigned stories/souls and the inner story is the story from the soul’s damnation itself. It’s a really great concept for a series, as this will allow Adams a vast creative space to freely write new volumes while furthering the seeker’s involvement…or devolvement.

Tale II in this series is called The Abnegation Society, which centers around a man named Blake who is an extremely rich man with a ravaging psychopathy; in this instance the typical CEO-type of sociopathy thought to be common amongst the elite 1%-ers (corporate bosses, tycoons, etc.).

His mental state manifests in an ever developing addiction to deliver depraved acts against other humans. This leads to his connection with The Abnegation Society, a secret society / club where money can buy any detestable act known to mankind as offered to its members…as long as they can afford it

Tom G.H. Adams is a solid writer and his prose flows well throughout the book. This book has put him on my radar as an author to watch. He knows how to move the story along, to create interest from the reader and pulls the strings, much like a puppeteer, of his characters smoothly throughout the story. If there are any faults to this particular tale, I would say that sometimes there is a slight disconnection in his storytelling. Everything is so well written, but certain parts could be developed with a little more connection/depth to character-building and atmosphere. Characters need to appear as more than just one-dimensional puppets. His prose could be more descriptive in conjuring the dark and desolate realms his characters dwell within. But this is also what plagues the majority of midlist horror authors. Adams can definitely spin an interesting tale and I’m on board with seeing this series extended.

The ending to this tale, however, was bittersweet in execution. A bit of a letdown. Adams surprised me in a good way with the direction he took the story, but then somewhat broke my suspension of disbelief with the connection of characters in the end. The ending seemed a little too neatly tied in a bow with the connection two characters had in the grand scheme of the plot. Unbelievably so, in my opinion. Real life isn’t that tidy. But the end result, despite this, was satisfyingly redemptive, nevertheless.

The trigger warning that came with this book (Caution: this is an 18+ story of intense horror and violence, and is not for the easily offended) seemed misleading. I went in thinking the story would be graphic/gory/sexual, and though some of the intentions and actions of the main character were extreme as referred to, there was never a part in the story where acts were written in extreme, graphic ways. In fact, I felt it was far more quiet in its execution. Which is not necessarily a bad thing, as Adams relies on the story itself and not extreme imagery (which I do tend to enjoy as well when accompanied by a strong story). Call me desensitized (much like the main character Blake), but I’d be shocked if readers would find something offensive in the pages of this book. But then I’d also be saddened at the state of humanity and our creative rights that we must now put labels on everything that might offend a single person.

On a personal note: I can definitely relate to the seeker/reader of stories in this series. As a long-time horror editor with Delirium Books and DarkFuse, I’ve read and reviewed tens-of-thousands of horror manuscripts in my day, from stories of damned souls to monsters to devious acts and hell-driven plots abound, which I sought to read, being a genre fan and editor. The only difference is that I read authors making up characters; the seeker, in this series, is opening up tales of human souls’ actual real-life damnations.

This series has amazing potential. Well-written and cleanly presented. This story was much longer than the first volume, but can still be read easily in a single sitting. Looking forward to the next tale!

SHANE STALEY

Shane Staley’s career in professional publishing spans more than 20 years. He is the founder of Delirium Books. In 2005 he won the Bram Stoker Award for excellence in specialty press publishing. He has published more than 300 titles through various imprints of Staley & Associates. He is also a Bram Stoker-nominated author and professional web developer. 

Throughout his career, his creative drive to support and promote the independent author and artist has resulted in the establishment of a prolific career in the arts and entertainment world. His creative output includes web development projects, book design and layout, editing and publishing. He is also an independent freelance publishing partner to several authors and publishers. 

Visit his publishing, editorial and web development site at: staleyandassociates.com.

Curation Results: The Abnegation Society

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