Harry Keogh: Necroscope and Other Weird Heroes! is a collection of eight long short stories featuring Brian Lumley's most popular characters and includes three brand-new stories of Harry Keogh, the original Necroscope!
Titus Crow: Psychic detective, master magician, destroyer of the ancient Chthulian gods. In "Inception," we see the infant Titus at the moment his destiny falls upon him. In "Lord of the Worms," a simple secretarial job lands Crow on a sacrificial altar. And in "Name and Number," Henri Laurent de Marigny details a battle between Titus Crow and malevolent, occult winds which can rip living flesh from bone.
David Hero and Eldin the Wanderer: once men of the waking world, now agents for King Kuranes of the Dreamlands. Sips of "The Weird Wines of Naxas Niss" send the pair on a tumultuous journey from a buxom beauty's bed to the depths of a wizard's dungeon. Then, seeking his missing friend, David Hero boards an ill-fated airship that is home to "The Stealer of Dreams."
Harry Keogh, Necroscope: vampire killer without peer, capable of conversing with the dead. A sudden windfall brings Harry to Las Vegas, where he meets "Dead Eddie," a gambler who can't resist trying for one last big win from beyond the grave. In "Dinosaur Dreams, Harry's interest in fossils leads him to uncover the truth behind the death of a young amateur paleontologist . . . and to discover that it's not just dead people he can call on in a crisis . . . . Harry's undying love for his mother leads him down a dangerous path in "Resurrection."
Four of Lumley's greatest heroes. Three of his most popular worlds. Tales to chill and to delight. Open the book and be swept away.
About the Author
Brian Lumley is the author of the Necroscope series, most recently, Necroscope: Avengers, the Psychomech trilogy, the Titus Crow novels, the Dreamlands series, and many works of short fiction. He lives in England.
Read an Excerpt
Harry Keogh: Necroscope and Other Weird Heroes!
By Lumley, Brian
Tor BooksCopyright © 2005 Lumley, Brian
All right reserved.
Twenty-two is the Number of the Master! A 22 may only be described in glowing terms, for he is the Great Man. Respected, admired by all who know him, he has the Intellect and the Power and he has the Magic! Aye, he is the Master Magician. But a word of warning: just as there are Day and Night, so are there two sorts of Magic--White, and Black!
The war was well over. Christmas 1945 had gone by and the New Year festivities were still simmering, and Titus Crow was out of a job. A young man whose bent for the dark and mysterious side of life had early steeped him in obscure occult and esoteric matters, his work for the War Department had moved in two seemingly unconnected, highly secretive directions. On the one hand he had advised the ministry in respect of certain of Der Führer's supernatural interests, and on the other he had used the skills of the numerologist and cryptographer to crack the codes of his goose-stepping war machine. In both endeavors there had been a deal of success, but now the thing was finished and Titus Crow's talents were superfluous.
Now he was at a loss how best to employ himself. Not yet known as one of the world's foremost occultists, nor even suspecting thebrilliance he was yet to achieve in many diverse fields of study and learning--and yet fully conscious of the fact that there was much to be done and a course to be run--for the moment he felt without a purpose, a feeling not much to his liking. And this after living and working in bomb-ravaged London through the war years, with the fever and stress of that conflict still bottled inside him.
For these reasons he was delighted when Julian Carstairs--the so-called Modern Magus, or Lord of the Worms, an eccentric cult or coven leader--accepted his agreeable response to an advertisement for a young man to undertake a course of secretarial duties at Carstairs' country home, the tenure of the position not to exceed three months. The money seemed good (though that was not of prime importance), and part of the work would consist of cataloging Carstairs' enviable occult library. Other than this the advertisement had not been very specific; but Titus Crow had little doubt but that he would find much of interest in the work and eagerly awaited the day of his first meeting with Carstairs, a man he assumed to be more eccentric than necromantic.
Wednesday, 9 January 1946, was that day, and Crow found the address, The Barrows--a name which immediately conjured mental pictures of tumuli and cromlechs--at the end of a wooded, winding private road not far from the quaint and picturesque town of Haslemere in Surrey. A large, two-story house surrounded by a high stone wall and expansive gardens of dark shrubbery, overgrown paths and gaunt-limbed oaks weighed down with festoons of unchecked ivy, the place stood quite apart from any comparable habitation.
That the house had at one time been a residence of great beauty seemed indisputable; but equally obvious was the fact that recently, possibly due to the hostilities, it had been greatly neglected. And quite apart from this air of neglect and the generally drear appearance of any country property in England during the first few weeks of the year, there was also a gloominess about The Barrows. Something inherent in its grimy upper windows, in the oak-shaded brickwork and shrouding shrubbery, so that Crow's pace grew measured and just a trifle hesitant as he entered the grounds through a creaking iron gate and followed first the drive, then a briar-tangled path to the front door.
And then, seeming to come too close on the heels of Crow's ringing of the bell, there was the sudden opening of the great door and the almost spectral face and figure of Julian Carstairs himself, whose appearance the young applicant saw from the start was not in accordance with his preconceptions. Indeed, such were Carstairs' looks that what little remained of Crow's restrained but ever-present exuberance was immediately extinguished. The man's aspect was positively dismal.
Without introduction, without even offering his hand, Carstairs led him through the gloomy interior to the living room, a room somber with shadows which seemed almost painted into the dark oak paneling. There, switching on lighting so subdued that it did absolutely nothing to dispel the drabness of the place or its fungal taint of dry rot, finally Carstairs introduced himself and bade his visitor be seated. But still he did not offer his hand.
Now, despite the poor light, Crow was able to take in something of the aspect of this man who was to be, however temporarily, his employer; and what he saw was not especially reassuring. Extremely tall and thin almost to the point of emaciation, with a broad forehead, thick dark hair and bushy eyebrows, Carstairs' pallor was one with the house. With sunken cheeks and slightly stooped shoulders, he could have been any age between seventy and eighty-five, perhaps even older. Indeed, there was that aura about him, hinting of a delayed or altered process of aging, which one usually associates with mummies in their museum alcoves.
Looking yet more closely at his face (but guardedly and as unobtrusively as possible), Crow discovered the pocks, cracks and wrinkles of years without number; as if Carstairs had either lived well beyond his time, or had packed far too much into a single lifespan. And again the younger man found himself comparing his host to a sere and dusty mummy.
And yet there was also a wisdom in those dark eyes, which at least redeemed for the moment an otherwise chill and almost alien visage. While Crow could in no wise appreciate the outer shell of the man, he believed that he might yet find virtue in his knowledge, the occult erudition with which it was alleged Carstairs had become endowed through a life of remote travels and obscure delvings. And certainly there was that of the scholar about him, or at least of the passionate devotee.
There was a hidden strength there, too, which seemed to belie the supposed age lines graven in his face and bony hands; and as soon as he commenced to speak, in a voice at once liquid and sonorous, Crow was aware that he was up against a man of great power. After a brief period of apparently haphazard questioning and trivial discourse, Carstairs abruptly asked him the date of his birth. Having spoken he grew silent, his eyes sharp as he watched Crow's reaction and waited for his answer.
Caught off guard for a moment, Crow felt a chill strike him from nowhere, as if a door had suddenly opened on a cold and hostile place; and some sixth sense warned him against all logic that Carstairs' question was fraught with danger, like the muzzle of a loaded pistol placed to his temple. And again illogically, almost without thinking, he supplied a fictitious answer which added four whole years to his actual age:
"Why, second December 1912," he answered with a half-nervous smile. "Why do you ask?"
For a moment Carstairs' eyes were hooded, but then they opened in a beaming if cadaverous smile. He issued a sigh, almost of relief, saying: "I was merely confirming my suspicion, astrologically speaking, that perhaps you were a Saggitarian--which of course you are. You see, the sidereal science is a consuming hobby of mine, as are a great many of the so-called 'abstruse arts.' I take it you are aware of my reputation? That my name is linked with all manner of unspeakable rites and dark practices? That according to at least one daily newspaper I am, or believe myself to be, the very Antichrist?" And he nodded and mockingly smiled. "Of course you are. Well, the truth is far less damning, I assure you. I dabble a little, certainly--mainly to entertain my friends with certain trivial talents, one of which happens to be astrology--but as for necromancy and the like...I ask you, Mr. Crow--in this day and age?" And again he offered his skull-like smile.
Before the younger man could make any sort of comment to fill the silence that had fallen over the room, his host spoke again, asking, "And what are your interests, Mr. Crow?"
"My interests? Why, I--" But at the last moment, even as Crow teetered on the point of revealing that he, too, was a student of the esoteric and occult--though a white as opposed to a black magician--so he once more felt that chill as of outer immensities and, shaking himself from a curious lethargy, noticed how large and bright the other's eyes had grown. And at that moment Crow knew how close he had come to falling under Carstairs' spell, which must be a sort of hypnosis. He quickly gathered his wits and feigned a yawn.
"You really must excuse me, sir," he said then, "for my unpardonable boorishness. I don't know what's come over me that I should feel so tired. I fear I was almost asleep just then."
Then, fearing that Carstairs' smile had grown more than a little forced--thwarted, almost--and that his nod was just a fraction too curt, he quickly continued: "My interests are common enough. A little archaeology, paleontology..."
"Common, indeed!" answered Carstairs with a snort. "Not so, for such interests show an inquiring nature, albeit for things long passed away. No, no, those are admirable pastimes for such a young man." And he pursed his thin lips and fingered his chin a little before asking:
"But surely, what with the war and all, archaeological work has suffered greatly. Not much of recent interest there?"
"On the contrary," Crow answered at once, "1939 was an exceptional year. The rock art of Hoggar and the excavations at Brek in Syria; the Nigerian Ife bronzes; Bleger's discoveries at Pylos and Wace's at Mycenae; Sir Leonard Woolley and the Hittites...myself, I was greatly interested in the Oriental Institute's work at Megiddo in Palestine. That was in '37. Only a bout of ill health held me back from accompanying my father out to the site."
"Ah! Your interest is inherited, then? Well, do not concern yourself that you missed the trip. Megiddo was not especially productive. Our inscrutable Oriental friends might have found more success to the northeast, a mere twenty-five or thirty miles."
"On the shores of Galilee?" Crow was mildly amused at the other's assumed knowledge of one of his pet subjects.
"Indeed," answered Carstairs, his tone bone dry. "The sands of time have buried many interesting towns and cities on the shores of Galilee. But tell me: what are your thoughts on the Lascaux cave paintings, discovered in, er, '38?"
"No, in 1940." Crow's smile disappeared as he suddenly realized he was being tested, that Carstairs' knowledge of archaeology--certainly recent digs and discoveries--was at least the equal of his own. "September 1940. They are without question the work of Cro-Magnon man, some twenty to twenty-five thousand years old."
"Good!" Carstairs beamed again, and Crow suspected that he had passed the test.
Now his gaunt host stood up to tower abnormally tall even over his tall visitor. "Very well, I think you will do nicely, Mr. Crow. Come then, and I'll show you my library. It's there you will spend most of your time, after all, and you'll doubtless be pleased to note that the room has a deal more natural light than the rest of the house. Plenty of windows. Barred windows, for of course many of my books are quite priceless."
Leading the way through gloomy and mazy corridors, he mused: "Of course, the absence of light suits me admirably. I am hemeralopic. You may have noticed how large and dark my eyes are in the gloom? Yes, and that is why there are so few strong electric lights in the house. I hope that does not bother you?"
"Not at all," Crow answered, while in reality he felt utterly hemmed in, taken prisoner by the mustiness of dry rot and endless, stifling corridors.
And you're a rock hound, too, are you?" Carstairs continued. "That is interesting. Did you know that fossil lampshells, of the sort common here in the South, were once believed to be the devil's cast-off toenails?" He laughed a mirthless, baying laugh. "Ah, what it is to live in an age enlightened by science, eh?"
Copyright 2003 by Brian Lumley
Excerpted from Harry Keogh: Necroscope and Other Weird Heroes! by Lumley, Brian Copyright © 2005 by Lumley, Brian. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
|Lord of the Worms||31|
|Name and Number||97|
|Hero and Eldin|
|The Weird Wines of Naxas Niss||127|
|The Stealer of Dreams||153|
|Harry Keogh: Necroscope|
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
076530847 HARRY KEOGH: NECROSCOPE AND OTHER WEIRD HEROES is clearly for fans of Brian Lumley and anyone who enjoys Lovecraft. The collection contains eight long shorts/novellas starring four of Mr. Lumley¿s top guns. Three stories feature Titus Crow (psychic detective). David Hero and Eldin the Wanderer (Agents of the king) travel in Dreamlands in two contributions. Finally the title character stars in three new stories not previously published. Each tale is well written displaying Mr. Lumley¿s skill at world building in a realm of horror rarely seen as descriptive; my heart still remains in my throat as a power failure occurred in the middle of a Keogh thriller. This reviewer read the book by lead character, meaning first Crow¿s trio, then the Hero-Eldin duo and finally the three Keogh stories over several days. Thus savoring a strong collection. Harriet Klausner
I read the series while in the Navy & loved it!
I'm not 100% convinced that Lumley fans or Necroscope fans would enjoy this collection of short stories. It higlights the protagonists lesser known cases and they're not very exciting. I will make an exception for the short story titled Dead Eddy. That was a hilarious. The others...not so much.