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Walker Kane didn’t believe in monsters ... Until they took his daughter.

Beneath the streets of Edinburgh, an ancient evil waits. Each year, the Grendsluagh—a prehistoric monster of insatiable hunger—demands a human sacrifice in exchange for the city’s continued prosperity. A secret society known only as the Cabal has overseen this sinister ritual for centuries, binding Edinburgh to a grim legacy of terror.

When ex-military search and rescue officer Walker Kane’s estranged daughter Emily is taken to sate the Grendsluagh’s appetite, he plunges into a race against time through a treacherous underworld of danger. 

Aided by a mythology-obsessed librarian and a daredevil urban explorer with secrets of her own, Walker and his makeshift team must face nightmares at every turn to reach Emily before she is devoured. The deeper they delve into Edinburgh’s serpentine catacomb, the more their resolve is tested—by the mutated monsters of the volcanic depths and the violence of the Cabal. 

To save his daughter, Walker will sacrifice everything—even his own humanity—in a heart-stopping confrontation with the monster at the heart of the labyrinth.

A stand-alone action-adventure horror novella from USA Today bestselling author J.F. Penn. Join the exploration into depths that were never meant to be disturbed. The secrets of the CATACOMB are waiting to be unearthed—if you dare.

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Print books shipped from my independent printer in the UK, or from the US in summer 2023.

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"Heroic librarian character? Yes please! ... I ended up reading it in one sitting because I had to know what was going to happen next ... a thrilling way to spend an evening!"

Stephanie C.
4 star Shopify review

"Gripped me from the first word and carried on until the last page. Your imagination will take over completely and you are with Walker, Laurel and Max from start to finish. A real page turner."

5 star Shopify review

"Eerie, creepy and set in an amazing location with just enough details to start to wonder if it could be true….myths and legends have to come from somewhere."

5 star Goodreads review

Customer Reviews

Based on 27 reviews

Want another exciting adventure to add to your library? You can’t go wrong with JF Penn!

A little cracker

This is a another excellent book by a fabulous author. I started to read and just couldn’t put it down. I didn’t half enjoy every word. You can almost see yourself in that situation. Cannot wait for another cracking book. Highly recommended.

TJ Puritz
A Thrill Ride!

October 12, 2023
I bought this book because I wanted to support Joanna Penn. I listen to her podcast regularly and greatly appreciate all she does for the writing community.
I have listened to her MapWalker Trilogy on audio and the first few of her Arkane books as well (recorded prior to her recent edits). After reading Catacomb, I see a clear thread that is the essence of JF Penn fiction running through her novels. As well it should be.
Catacomb is listed as horror and I do not enjoy horror. I read some Stephen King but not the majority for this reason. That being said, I personally wouldn't classify Catacomb as horror. Don't get me wrong, there are some very gruesome parts to this story but the extended descriptions and emotional ties are not there. For me, that was a good thing.
I enjoyed Catacomb very much and would categorize it more of a thriller. It is very fast paced and well written, so I definitely recommend it if you are a fan of her work.

Ronel Janse van Vuuren
A chilling read.

A thrilling adventure under the earth’s surface through abandoned tunnels – natural and manmade – to the centre of it all where a monster awaits. Several monstrous creatures lurk in the tunnels and caverns, taking their turn to devour the three heroes.

I liked the three main characters and felt that they were well developed. I do think the little book found in the library could have done with a bit more information as to the ritual – I would have liked to know how it started.

A chilling read with pulse racing moments and a bittersweet ending.

Jimmie Kepler
Catacomb: A Tolkienesque Thrill Ride Beneath Edinburg

Catacomb: A Tolkienesque Thrill Ride Beneath Edinburg

If you're a fervent admirer of fantasy, with a penchant for horror laced with the relentless pace of a thriller, J.F. Penn's latest offering is an exhilarating literary voyage you cannot afford to miss. Penn's eloquent prose gracefully weaves together mysticism, ancient customs, religious beliefs, myths, rituals, and other captivating elements into her narratives, ensuring that her stories are nothing short of extraordinary. In her most recent work, she plunges readers deep into the labyrinthine catacombs of Edinburgh, where an ancient malevolence lies in wait.

Set against the backdrop of Edinburgh, a city bound by an ominous pact, “Catacomb” introduces us to the Grendsluagh—a monstrous entity that amalgamates Grendel, the infamous Beowulf antagonist, with the Slough from Celtic folklore. This prehistoric monstrosity exacts an annual toll from the city: a human sacrifice in exchange for prosperity. This year, Emily is the chosen victim until her father, Walker Kane, a seasoned ex-military search and rescue officer, embarks on a heroic mission to rescue her. Assisting him are a group of two intrepid urban explorers and mythology enthusiasts, forming a team of audacious adventurers on a perilous quest deep within the bowels of Edinburgh's serpentine catacombs. Brace yourself for an exhilarating and spine-tingling reading experience.

Penn's latest creation is a standalone action-adventure masterpiece that grips readers from the very beginning. While my personal encounter was with the eBook version directly from the author, I've read from other sources that the print edition spans a compelling 164 pages. Whether you are enamored with subterranean realms, labyrinthine catacombs, or the enigmatic underworld, this book is tailor-made for your literary cravings.

One of the book's most noteworthy attributes is the gripping battles that unfold between the protagonists—Walker, Max, and Laura—and the menacing monsters lurking in the catacombs. These confrontations conjure memories of J.R.R. Tolkien's iconic scenes, such as Gandalf's epic battle against the Balrog. Penn's narrative prowess is in full display as she crafts a fast-paced and enchanting tale, painting vivid landscapes that compelled me to turn page after page, consuming it in just three riveting sittings. The more I immersed myself in the story, the deeper my appreciation grew for Penn's storytelling finesse. She proves herself to be a remarkable storyteller, sculpting characters that are not only memorable but also deeply relatable.

The scenes featuring the face-offs with the monstrous adversaries are nothing short of spectacular, akin to award-winning literature. The progression through the catacombs, one monster at a time, until reaching their ultimate quarry, the Grendsluagh, is spellbinding. As the story nears its climax, the stakes escalate, and the battle for survival intensifies, underscoring the inescapable truth: the Grendsluagh must be vanquished, or our heroes will meet their doom in their valiant quest to save Emily.

In "A Tolkienesque Thrill Ride Beneath Edinburgh," J.F. Penn crafts an extraordinary tale that melds elements of fantasy, horror, and mythology into a heart-pounding adventure. With her exceptional storytelling and masterful character development, Penn delivers a narrative that captivates readers from start to finish. If you're in search of an enthralling and immersive reading experience reminiscent of the great J.R.R. Tolkien, look no further. This book is a gem that deserves a place on every adventure-loving reader's shelf.

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