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British novelist Lumley began his writing career as an H.P. Lovecraft emulator. This nostalgic collection, the second of two volumes (after 2007's The Taint and Other Novellas) of Lumley's best Cthulhu Mythos tales, demonstrates that his work improves the more he moves away from his model, as in the simple and unflinching title story. The more histrionic "The Caller of the Black" still takes a significant step away from its source, introducing the recurring character of the occultist-adventurer Titus Crow, who, like most Lumley characters, is much more of a man of action than the typical Lovecraft protagonist. Mixed among the contemporary horrors are sword-and-sorcery stories set in Lovecraft's surreal Dreamlands and the Primal Land, as florid as the rest but sometimes redeemed by irony. These straightforward tales of forbidden tomes, alien gods and hideous dooms should appeal to Lovecraft fans who care more about atmosphere than philosophy or prose. (May)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.