March 2006 from
Amber Quill Press
5 Star Reviewer's
ISBN: 1-59279-746-6 (Paperback)
EPPIE award winner for Horror
the moment of Original Sin, man has been mortal, trapped in time,
and able only to grasp tenuously at the concept of eternity. That
is, unless that man has been able to study and practice the arcane
seventh-century teachings of Agrippolos the Left-handed, notably his
major work, The Chronomicon Novum. Then the Vast Unknowable
is his. But man must beware; failure to master the teachings
completely can result in a fate far worse than mere mortality.
Two strangers, a male
sportswriter and a female student of the occult, buy a house
together because, not in spite of, the fact that it is reputed to be
haunted. In so doing, they become entangled in the history of the
family who built the place to use as a venue for an experiment in
controlling time. They also discover that the house now seems to
have developed a life of its own, one which bears a distinct
resemblance to the evil personality of the defrocked Seventh Century
monk and his twisted philosophies on the nature of Sin and Eternity.
What people say
about BUTTERFLY HOUSE:
Two strangers arrive at the same real estate office at the same time in
response to the same ad. House for sale. Both want the house for the same (and yet
mysteriously, different) reason: It's haunted. Or at least rumored to be.
Jackson Rutledge and Sabrina
Osterling discover right away that wanting the house isn't the only thing they have in
common. They don't like each other. Equally. Instantly. And that's no problem. The
house seems designed especially for just such circumstances with its identical but
separate wings. So it is that these hostile strangers venture into a mutually satisfying
deal -- each owns 50 percent of what they hope is a haunted house. But they don't think to
ask the opinion of the interested third party before crossing the T's, dotting the I's,
and scribbling their respective signatures. They don't stop to wonder what the house might
think of them.
I was interested in this story
from the start. For one thing, the setup is far enough from the traditional haunted house
take that I couldn't accurately predict what was coming next. For another, while I figured
that neither "hostile" nor "stranger" would last (I dreaded the
inevitable blossoming romance that no story seems to be complete without), the author
surprised me again. I won't tell you how but whichever way you guess, I'm willing to bet
you don't get it exactly right.
T.K. Sheils has rendered a
tale in which the familiar nestles so close to the unknown it's hard to tell where one
ends and the other begins. I was willing to allow for some adherence to the horror
"formula" but every time we ventured into what appeared to be formulaic
territory, the trail, much to my satisfaction, took an unexpected turn. With shades of
Lovecraft, Barker-esque overtones, and imagery worthy of any of the current kings of the
macabre, "Butterfly House" oozed its foreboding ambiance all over my attic
office space and managed to creep me out. In the day time. Exactly what a horror novel
ought to do. I look forward to reading more of Sheils' work.
Finally a haunted house story with a very
I'll start with the one drawback
to this e-book, would you buy a house and live there with a total stranger? Get past this,
not a difficult thing to do, and hold on for a very strange ride.
Muse by Chris Speakman
Strangers, Jack and Sabrina, buy the old Hanley house, each want the house for very
distinctive reasons. The house is different from any other house as it appears off-centred
and the East and West wing are the mirror opposites of each other. The house's tower
doesn't seem to have any entrance and nowhere in the house will you find a mirror. The
only windows are all on the south side of the house. It's interesting how these windows
catch the bright sunlight.
"Butterfly House" offers the normal bumps in the night, mysterious footprints,
faces in the windows, and an assortment of visions. What makes "Butterfly House"
intriguing is the concept behind the construction of the house and the people who used to
There isn't much more I can say without giving away the originality of the storyline. I
cannot even say if the concepts uncovered in "Butterfly House" are real or not,
maybe my reading/education experience is lacking and/or I just haven't come across the
theories interwoven in T.K. Sheils' tale; either way my interest has been piqued. The
writing is clear; the characters of Jack and Sabrina are two of the better well-rounded
haunted house characters I've come across in my readings lately. But the strongest element
is still the concept behind the haunted house, a concept that makes you ask questions well
after you've finished the book.
This is a book that I highly recommend, especially for those who favour haunted house
tales. If anyone is familiar with the concepts written within the pages of "Butterfly
House" please contact me, I would sleep better knowing that they really are just
Many years ago local recluse, Luther Hanley, had a house built for himself and his
2 daughters. As the daughters apparently did not get on he had 2 identical wings built
onto the house, one for each daughter, whereas Luther himself lived in the middle section.
One day all 3 of the Hanley's vanished.
Years later Sabrina Osterling and Jackson Rutledge independently see a sales advert for
the house and for their own, very different reasons, realise that they have to buy it.
Unfortunately the asking price is out of reach for each of them so they decide to club
together to buy it and take one wing each. Very soon they realise that something strange
is going on and they get the definite impression that the house doesn't want them to be
This book gave me the creeps and I can honestly say that doesn't happen very often! The
writing style is reminiscent of such stories as the Amityville Horror and I found myself
wishing I had read this in the same was as I read that book - at night, by candlelight!
The writing style is very fluent and enthralling. I didn't quite finish this in one
sitting but that is only because I had an appointment to be somewhere. As it was I was
nearly late because I just had to read one more chapter...
For once, even though I had a feeling I knew what the final 'answer' was going to be,
there is no way the ending could ever be described a predictable
Butterfly House is a fine example of the horror genre. Riveting and extremely unnerving.
Steve & Lesley Mazey
The Eternal Night Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror
Fiction Web Site
"Move over Stephen
King, there's a new master of horror at LTD Books, and his name is T.K. Sheils."
While this reviewer has
enjoyed many of Sheils' novels, BUTTERFLY HOUSE is the best yet, demonstrating amazing
polish and imagination. Both Jackson Rutledge and Sabrina Osterling arrived at the real
estate office at the same time in answer to the ad for a house described as "musty,
dusty, and guaranteed haunted." Neither was prepared for the result of their
encounter and subsequent acquisition of the house.
Though they didn't like each
other, Jackson and Sabrina pooled their resources to buy the old house. With its enormous
mirrored wings, they only had to tolerate each other in the kitchen area, and a schedule
would easily prevent chance encounters. Nevertheless, mysterious happenings begin to alert
them to danger and Jackson and Sabrina are drawn together to fight unspeakable evil.
Somewhere in the house lie the answers to what happened to its previous occupants, Luther
Hanley and his twin daughters Clarisse and Amanda.
Luther built mirrored wings on
the house, one for each daughter. The sisters planned to never encounter each other, and
never to speak to each other because of their hatred for each other. Then one day all
three family members simply disappeared, never to be seen again. Fifty years later,
mysterious footprints, faces in windows, and messages both printed and on the computer
alert Jackson and Sabrina to danger. A malevolent presence lurks within the house, and
they just may not survive its evil intent before they run out of time.
Indeed, time seems to be of
the essence. Haunting, and unlike anything this reviewer has ever encountered, BUTTERFLY
HOUSE will mesmerize, fascinate, and horrify the reader. Crisp and atmospheric, it's easy
to lose oneself in the depth and complexity of the novel.
Cindy Penn for Wordweaving -
(AWARD FOR EXCELLENCE)
"Someone is creeping through the
darkened house...and the house doesn't like it!"
The unusual opening draws the
reader into this story of a strange house, reputed to be haunted, and the mismatched pair
that purchase it. Jack wants to write a horror novel, and thinks the creepy atmosphere
would be perfect. Sabrina aches to meet a real ghost, and knows if one can be found
anywhere, it will be here. Although neither can afford the hefty price tag on the house,
its design of two identical wings flanking a common kitchen/dining area makes it almost
like a duplex. They agree to split the cost, and the house, having as little contact with
each other as possible. In fact, they begin by sliding notes under each other's doors.
When they hear footsteps
in the night, when threatening notes appear etched in the dust or typed on the computer,
when strange faces peer in the windows, and when someone -- or someTHING -- seems
determined to force them to leave, Jack and Sabrina find comfort in each other. But they
need more than comfort. They need answers. Can they find the answers they need before the
deadly threats are carried out?
This book scared the
**** out of me. In fact, I'm not entirely certain I'll be able to sleep tonight without
leaving a light on. So from a horror perspective, it was certainly effective. But what
made it so chilling was the perfectly reasoned and believable fantasy/science fiction
(alternate theology?) rationale motivating the action. Studying the past, future, or even
the present, to the exclusion of all else, is ultimately doomed to failure and
frustration. The events of the book explore that concept to its logical and terrifying
While I initially found
Sabrina too abrasive, and never did quite understand how her childhood experiences led to
a hatred of all men, by the end I sympathized with her. Jack was a more likable character
from the beginning. They are both fuller and more well-rounded than the standard victim
caricatures found in much horror, although their characters do not drive the story. It is
clearly an idea book. But that is not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, when the idea is
such a strong one, and delivered in such a masterful way, it is a very good thing
Jennifer Dunne - Scribes
I actually finished this book a
couple of months ago. I'd put aside doing the review because Butterfly House is a rare gem
whose impact left me without words. Okay, if you like the horror
genre, remember what you felt like the first time you read one of the classics? That,
gee-whiz-how cool but don't you dare turn out the lights kinda feeling? You do? That is
Two dissimilar people find the home
of their dreams and, neither being comfortable financially, decide to purchase it
together. That works you see because there are two wings to this house, a
"haunted" house, and each can reside in one half. Being haunted is what makes it
their dream home.
Dream or nightmare? Naturally they want to investigate the validity of such a haunting. Their
investigations turn up rather startling and dangerous information. For one, the house had
been previously inhabited by an elderly man and his two daughters. Each daughter with a
wing to herself. They were said to have been looking into the nature of time itself. Then,
Butterfly House is a scary book.
Horror fiction so rarely scares me these days. I've missed it. Butterfly House puts
the terror back in horror fiction. Not only that. It makes you think. Butterfly House
makes you fantasize as well and that puts you in the very realm of the fiction writer.
T.K. Sheils has blessed his readers
with a rare gift and a rare book.
Butterfly House, a classic!
BUZZY'S BOOKS *****
Two strangers, a male sportswriter
and a female student of the occult, buy a house together because, not in spite of, the
fact that it is reputed to be haunted. In so doing, they become entangled in the history
of the family who built the place to use as a venue for an experiment in controlling time.
They also discover that the house now
seems to have developed a life of its own, one which bears a distinct resemblance to the
evil personality of the defrocked Seventh Century monk and his twisted philosophies on the
nature of Sin and Eternity.
I was held captive as I read this
book of dark fantasy, and with each terrifying event that unfolded I found myself holding
my breath and reading faster. THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE was a roller-coaster ride of delicious
thrills and horror. On a scale (1-5) I give it a glowing 5!"
Jewel Dartt - Midnight
Scribe Reviews *****
Seldom do I read a horror story that
gives me nightmares as this one did! Highly recommended reading for real horror fans!
Excellent! I look forward to reading this author in another book soon!