Dawn Song

The Crucible

Welcome to THE CRUCIBLE--the virtual home of writer Michael Marano. Dawn Song, out now in paperback, has won both the two most prestigious awards in the field of horror fiction: The International Horror Guild Award, and The Bram Stoker Award.

UPDATE! Read Mike's essay on "Horror Movies of the Apocalypse" at Gothic.Net. While you're there, check out his tongue-in-cheek analysis of the classic Giant Killer Bunny Movie, Night of the Lepus in the Non-Fiction archive, his story "Burden", and part one and part two of his serial "Winter Requiem" in the Fiction archive.

Week of January 27, 2000 -- Read Mike's essay on his favorite science fiction show at The Charleston City Paper.

Excerpts from Dawn Song are now posted on this site. You can read the Prologue and Chapter One, Chapter Two, Chapter Three and Chapter Four. More additions will be posted soon, so please check back.

Dawn Song cover
Cover by Cliff Nielsen
Bram Stoker Award
The Bram Stoker Award
You can order either the
paperback or hardback
edition of Dawn Song.
IHG Award
The IHG Award

Read what horror writers like William Peter Blatty, author of The Exorcist, have to say about Dawn Song.

Here's what the critics are saying:
"...Marano's vivid, suspenseful fantasy set in Boston at the time of the Gulf War is a compelling drama in which two monstrously evil entities do violent battle, using both humans and evil spirits as pawns."

"...juxtaposes scenes of hauntingly perverse beauty with vignettes of stark and grotesque horror in this compelling and disturbing tale of occult warfare and transcendent faith."
Library Journal

"Densely original, poetic, imaginative dark-fantasy that treats Belial and his minions with jarring insight. ....particularly vivid, flesh-crawly descriptions that Dante never thought of. Pain and perpetual twilight pulse through a tale that leaves a taste of sulfur on the tongue. Read at your own risk."

"...a gorgeous piece of work. [Marano's] imagery is consistently evocative and his pacing deliberate, giving the reader just enough time to walk around in his characters' heads and feel compelled to move forward. It's to his credit that Marano also creates a monster whose motivations are understandable without making her into a cliched faux Ricean tortured soul. For these things to come together in a veteran novelist's work is expected; for it to happen in a debut novel is amazing."

"It has probably been years since I have read a Dark Fantasy/Horror novel that at times made me physically cringe. Dawn Song takes me to dark terrifying places that I only remember from the first time I saw The Exorcist back in the early '70s. ....Marano's stark imagery gave my dreams a dark color I haven't experienced since seeing The Exorcist."
Barnes & Noble Explorations

"Dawn Song proves to be a remarkable debut, taking a Dantesque blend of theology, social commentary/satire (yes, there is some humor here!), and horror, imbuing it with more compassion than Dante generally managed, and exploring the complex, often terrible realities of the 20th century in its final decade. ...[T]he novel packs a genuine intellectual, moral, and passionate punch, unknown to formulaic horror."
Farren Miller, LOCUS

"Dawn Song may do for Boston what The Exorcist did for Washington, D.C. and The Stand for Las Vegas and Boulder. ...The eventual power of the story's repressed passions is undeniable. By the time Dawn Song paints its distinctly weird Christmas Eve, with all its cinematic confrontations and assorted dooms, the patient reader has already discovered he or she's the recipient of a magnificent holiday gift: a first novel that functions well on its own, but which also heralds the emergence of a fresh and genuine talent."
Ed Bryant, LOCUS

"Marano's debut horror novel is a distinct creation unlike the flood of imitative horror fiction that ebbed a few years back. ....Marano is one of a handful of new horror writers who seem to be redefining that genre, and who may well help initiate its next wave of popularity."
Don D'Ammassa, Science Fiction Chronicle

"...an extremely interesting and highly promising first novel which... has been inspired by the author's study of alchemy and Kabbala. It strikes me that it probably was inspired by just such studies, for its characters, both natural and supernatural, are ever in a state of transmutation and always moving along the limbs of the great tree of life from one illumination to another. ....The whole book is an attempt to instruct and to help and is wise enough to do it in a highly entertaining way. I will be curious to see what Mr. Marano does next with his alchemy and his Kabbala and his kindness."
Gahan Wilson, Realms of Fantasy

"Dawn Song is a richly challenging book, but it draws you in with considerable power and seductive strength. Marano's wickedly macabre (and perhaps slightly demented) mind mixes the medieval world of succubi, demons, alchemy and Kabbalah with an intelligent modern perspective to achieve a richly terrifying feast for readers...."

"...a deeply disturbing and enveloping horror novel. Marano's eye for realistic details creates realistic characters you can believe in and feel for, which makes it all the more twisted when he then turns to the equally complicated details of demonology. ....essential coffinside reading if you like the supernatural elements in horror to be complex and f**kin' scary."

"Though-provoking and often gorgeously beautiful, [Dawn Song] is one 'hell' of a book."
New York Review of Science Fiction

"Michael Marano has written a lyrical and gorgeous novel of dark disturbances.... This is a first novel that will be cherished for a long time to come."

The Full Crucible Tour:

|| Prologue and Chapter One || Chapter Two ||
|| Chapter Three || Chapter Four ||
|| Mike Marano's Biography || Mike's advice on selling your novel||
|| "Read What Mike has to say about Ally McBeal and Godzilla ||
|| How to Book a Book Tour || Author Quotes
|| Ephemera... || Annotations ||
|| "Exodus" || "Alchemy" || "Kabbalah" ||

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