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Book Review: The Headless Horseman Of Sleepy Hollow By Mark Latham
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The Headless Horseman of Sleepy Hollow Osprey Publishing banner

The Headless Horseman of Sleepy Hollow
Dark Osprey Series 7
Paperback | Kindle
Written by Mark Latham
Art by Alan Lathwell
Osprey Publishing
Release date: September 22, 2015

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and its a fantastical tale of The Headless Horseman is one of the most famous ghost stories of our time. Published in 1819, the story follows Ichabod Crane, a lanky schoolteacher from Connecticut who moves to Sleepy Hollow, a quiet but haunted New York village said to be bewitched, as “a drowsy, dreamy influence seems to hang over the land.” The awkward newcomer meets and falls for Katrina Van Tassel, the daughter of a prosperous farmer, but finds himself in stiff competition for the young heiress’s affections with the brutish Abraham “Brom Bones” Van Brunt. After Crane’s plans to win over Katrina go astray, he runs afoul of the fabled Headless Horseman, rumored to be the ghost of a decapitated Hessian soldier from the Revolutionary War who roams the valley in search of his missing head.

American author Washington Irving’s short story, set in the late 1700s, has become so popular over the years that the characters and the events chronicled have transcended into American folklore. Fans and scholars alike have speculated on whether there’s any truth to the tall tales depicted throughout. What if The Legend of Sleepy Hollow was not a mere fable, but fact?

The Headless Horseman of Sleepy Hollow, a new book in the Dark series from Osprey Publishing, not only explores the possible truth behind the legend, but also weaves a yarn of Irving himself as a supernatural investigator.

Written by Mark Latham, the illustrated paperback covers the legend itself, delving into the Hessian horseman’s origins, as well as Irving’s role as a ghost hunter, all supposedly unearthed from secret journals. Much in the way that modern-day storytellers like to thrust renowned fairy tale writers The Brothers Grimm into their own creations, so does Latham with Irving, portraying him here as a ghost hunter who actually encounters the Horseman himself. There’s even a part where Irving teams up with the Brothers Grimm! Along with Irving’s purported experiences is a look at other headless apparitions outside of American that have shown up throughout history.

The secrets behind the legend along with the correlations to other beheaded spooks throughout history make The Headless Horseman of Sleepy Hollow an interesting what-if journey through Irving’s masterpiece. The illustrations by Alan Lathwell are absolutely gorgeous, and take this alternate history offering to the next level. Even if you’re not particularly interested in the book’s fact-or-fiction thesis, the included artwork throughout makes The Headless Horseman of Sleepy Hollow worth admiring.

The legend of Sleepy Hollow is one of the great tales of American folklore, supposedly stemming from Washington Irving’s famous short story. But what if there was more to the ghostly fable than meets the eye? What if Irving’s account was based on fact? And what if the Headless Horseman of Sleepy Hollow was not unique, but merely one of a strange line of malevolent spirits sighted across the world, bringing misfortune to all that witness them? Within this book you will find long-forgotten lore about the headless spirits that have plagued mankind for centuries, and perhaps even now seek ingress into our world. The Headless Horseman, and others like him, is at large in the dark places of the world, and should one encounter such a revenant, it is said that tragedy will surely follow…

Cover

The Headless Horseman of Sleepy Hollow Osprey Publishing cover

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