Book Review: Manly Wade Wellman’s The Old Gods Waken

Posted July 1, 2014 by Kathy Davie in

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review: Manly Wade Wellman’s The Old Gods Waken

The Old Gods Waken

on November 28, 1979 and has 186 pages.

Explore it on Goodreads or Amazon.

First in the Silver John science fiction fantasy series revolving around a folksinging guitar player and his friends. This story takes place on Wolter Mountain in the Appalachians.

My Take
I love Wellman’s use of language and his folksy approach…and I’m at a loss to explain how varied this is. It’s the people and their inner goodness. John’s warm and comforting reassurances. The Chief’s snarky sense of humor about “white man” expectations, lol, even as he steps up when it’s evil come a’calllin’. There’s also Holly’s blend of college education and warm-hearted acceptance of a less scholarly angle.

For such a short story, 186 pages, you can’t help but be impressed with the level of background detail and the wealth of Wellman’s imagery. Wellman shows you how it’s done *grin*.

If you love history, culture, self-sufficiency, and the underdog winning out, you can’t help but love Wellman’s The Old Gods Waken.

The Story

It’s lucky for the Forshays that Luke befriended Silver John at that festival, for he knows how to deal with the deadly magic that flows down the mountain.

Even luckier that Rueben Manco is willing to root out that evil and endure the seven tests.

The Characters

Silver John is a balladeer who wanders the mountains collecting folk songs and battling evil. Evadare is John’s fiancée. Holly Christopher is a friend of John’s and a scholar of folklore with university learning and an appreciation for what she can discover outside a university.

Creed Forshay owns a farm up in the Appalachian mountains. Luke is his son, who helps him work the land and has degrees in English and history.

Rueben Manco is Cherokee, a medicine man, and a graduate of Dartmouth, for all that he likes to fool around with people’s expectations.

Brummitt and Hooper Voth are brothers who inherited the old Gibb place up on the mountain top. Jonathan Gibb was the last of his line and a complete loner. John Gibb was the ancestor who first settled this homestead.

The Cover & Title

The cover is fantastical with a an old hermit carrying a long-handled sickle as he wanders an alien landscape with mountains in the background and a full moon hovering while lightning crackles in the sky above.

The title is the aim of the Voth brothers, to see to it that The Old Gods Waken.


Leave a Reply