A Lower Deepby Tom Piccirilli
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A man known only as the Necromancer and his demonic familiar named "Self" wander the spectral highways of the countryside, incurring the wrath of both heaven and hell – and facing the curses of the damned. But it's a figure from his past that may drive the Necromancer into a hell even he cannot escape. Jebediah DeLancre, the leader of the Necromancer's old coven, has created a new coven, an evil band determined to use the black arts for their own hideous ends.
The Necromancer is forced to return to his home, a place haunted by memories, where years earlier his original coven was destroyed, and where Danielle, the only love of his life, met an awful death. Together with Self, the Necromancer must battle not only his former master, but the members of the new coven and the jealous ghosts of his old one…all the while taunted by the possibility that Danielle may return from the dead.
- Crossroad Press
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The Necromancer is an unnamed Summoner who criss-crosses the magical and mystical byways of the land with his impulsive demonic familiar, Self. A clash of a decades old conflict and his old Coven forces our unlikely heroes to follow a darkly designed path whilst trying to unravel the devious plots of Jebediah DeLancre that threaten to break the firmament and unleash Armageddon. Mixing the deeply powerful magics and metaphysical colours of mysticism with religious sensibilities - you're presented with a fantastic ride through a tortured landscape that mirrors the fractured existence of the Necromancer and the ghosts of his past. A triumph of storytelling, this is epic Dark Fiction.
A narrator known only as the Necromancer and his demonic sidekick, "Self," wander through the book all across America and eventually to the Middle East, where they attempt to stop a misled coven in Jerusalem. The Necromancer struggles with the ghosts of his dead comrades and battles the leader of his former coven, Jebediah DeLancre, who is intending to resurrect Christ before God wills it so. This novel is heavy with a crackling atmosphere and filled with an amalgam of Judeo-Christian history, other myths, and well-researched facts about the Old City of Jerusalem and other Biblical settings. This is a powerful tale told by an ingenious writer.
A LOWER DEEP is a wonderful occult horror novel where research into mythology, religion, the black arts and history has paid off in a fine way. This book reads with a particular sense of realism no matter how bizarre the situation. We follow a nameless man known only as the Necromancer as he and his demonic and sarcastic companion "Self" travel across the world battling evil abroad and the evil within themselves. From an unholy mansion where a witches' coven attempts the premature resurrection of the messiah, to a haunted monestary where insane monks roam, to the city of Jerusalem itself where the protagonist must fight the ghosts of his past as Armageddon approaches. This is top-notch horror fantasy that brings the concepts of belief, sacrifice, faith and antiquity to a unique life. Highly recommended.
I first read Piccirrilli's "Self" stories back when they appeared in small press magazines in the horror genre. I was always enthralled with how he managed to blend so many elements together and yet still offer up a remarkably smooth story. In A Lower Deep, the author takes three novellas with one overall arcing story line and gives a rip-snorting dark fantasy tale of a modern day warlock driven by a vague morality to try to save the world. The warlock (or "Necromancer", as he's known here) is trapped between a world of black magic, his own demonic "Self's" constant urgings for him to give in to lust and murder, his love for his dead girlfriend, and his struggle with understanding God's greater plan. A wonderfully ambitious, unsettling, and moving book.