THIS THING OF DARKNESS by Allan Batchelder is a high concept novel if I've ever heard one: What if William Shakespeare faked his death and tried to make a new life in Jamestown? It's an interesting promise that I am arguably spoiling a bit of a reveal but is the chief reason to pick up this fascinating novel. Its title and events certainly give this the appearance of a horror novel but it also works very well as a character study. I am happy to recommend it without further bringing any elements of its plot in on the basis of its research and authenticity of human feeling. Which is not something I normally say about a monster stalking a bunch of English settlers.
Anyone who knows me will tell you how I like my fantasy: black, gritty, and without apology. There's nothing wrong with bright and optimistic fantasy but I like it when the protagonists are bastards, the villains are monsters, and the world is not going to become a better place once the final blow is struck. It's a subgenre ("grimdark") which, despite Game of Thrones' success, which is best exemplified by indie fantasy artists like Rob J. Hayes, M.L. Spencer, Richard Nell, Michael Baker, and Michael R. Fletcher. Now Allan Batchelder.