Revenants is a fascinating book in many ways, slow-burning and in no rush to get going it takes its time laying the foundations of village life in colonial America, setting the scene with glimpses into the complex personal lives of the central characters. It paints a picture of simple folk so far away from the 'real world' and it's civilised and probably more 'enlightened' mores, that they have become chastened by puritanical evangelism and led into god-fearing habits by an oppressive and mean-spirited minister. All of this is set against a backdrop of dense woods and open plains that cleverly mirrors the extremes of the two worlds, and would likely be hard to find in modern times, and the whole is written in a near perfect prose style that artfully mimics the writing of the time and adds nice touches of depth and atmosphere to the story.
The main characters are nicely rounded and the lesser ones, while simplistic, are given enough depth to suit their parts in the story. The dialogue is sparse and conversations are short which suits the period of the piece perfectly, but it's as the search for the missing girl gets under way and the men leave the confines of the miserable but relatively safe village for the oppressive and terror-filled woods that the story really begins to take off. Mills balances the atmosphere of the place with the superstition of the men perfectly, enveloping the reader in a fug of malevolence, fear and guilt that elevates this beyond mere mystery into something much more, something that pays off in spades when we finally learn the reasons for all that has gone before.
Try Revenants if you can, it does demand that you take your time and pay attention but it's a better book for it, and will reward the patient reader with a story that will linger in the mind long after the last page has been closed.