The first book in Brian Lumley's bestselling Necroscope series, Necroscope: The Lost Years
Vampires never rest, and neither does Harry Keogh, the world's greatest vampire hunter, the Necroscope, the man who can talk to the dead. Right now, he's desperately searching for his wife and son, who disappeared in the midst of Harry's war against the undead monsters that plague mankind. Others will to carry on that fight until the Necroscope has been reunited with his beloved family.
But it's not that easy to leave the vampire war behind. The bloodsuckers know that the Necroscope is their deadliest enemy and will do anything to destroy him.
Harry struggles to locate his missing family, not realizing that he has become a pawn in the battle between two powerful vampires. When one has slain the other, the Necroscope will be the next to die.
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About the Author
Brian Lumley is the author of the bestselling Necroscope series of vampire novels. The first Necroscope, Harry Keogh, also appears in a collection of Lumley's short fiction, Harry Keogh and Other Weird Heroes, along Titus Crow and Henri Laurent de Marigny, from Titus Crow, Volumes One, Two, and Three, and David Hero and Eldin the Wanderer, from the Dreamlands series.
An acknowledged master of Lovecraft-style horror, Brian Lumley has won the British Fantasy Award and been named a Grand Master of Horror. His works have been published in more than a dozen countries and have inspired comic books, role-playing games, and sculpture, and been adapted for television.
When not writing, Lumley can often be found spear-fishing in the Greek islands, gambling in Las Vegas, or attending a convention somewhere in the US. Lumley and his wife live in England.
Brian Lumley is a Grand Master of Horror and a winner of the British Fantasy Award. His many novels, including Necroscope, have been published in more than thirteen countries around the world. He lives in England with his wife, Barbara Ann.
Read an Excerpt
Necroscope®: The Lost Years
By Brian Lumley
Tom Doherty AssociatesCopyright © 1995 Brian Lumley
All rights reserved.
A Devious Thing.
GETTING UP IN THE MORNINGS WAS THE WORST of it, when he was obliged to leave his dreams behind. For in his dreams he was usually himself, while in his real life the Necroscope Harry Keogh had become someone else entirely. Or not entirely, for on the inside he was still him. But on the outside ...
... It was confusing, dizzying, frightening, maddening ... especially maddening. And not only for Harry but for his wife, too. Indeed, more so for Brenda, for she could not and did not want to understand it; she only wanted things back as they had been. As for her baby son, Harry Jr.: well, who could say about that one? Who knew what he was thinking, planning, working on? But then again, who but a fool or a lunatic would believe that an infant of eighteen or so tender months was capable of working on anything?
Oh, he worked on getting fed or changed or attended to the same as any baby: by screaming for it. And he worked on collecting his audience of admirers the same way, too: by burping and farting and smiling in that gormless-innocent way that defenseless infants have, with their fat little faces seeming to slide off to one side, and their eyes getting crossed, and the drool dripping down off their wobbly little chins. Completely disarming, and utterly charming, of course. At a year and a half most of that was over now, but as for defenseless ...
Harry Jr. was an angel — but one who had come face to face with the devil, and won! Him and his father both. But that had been only one battle; the greater, bloodier wars were still to come. Right now neither one of them knew that, however, which was just as well. Were it otherwise, they might not want to go on. The future has good cause to guard its secrets ...
But as his father was more than just any man, so Harry Jr. was more than just any baby. It was when he was being ... well, the other thing — when his expression was other than a baby's, and his thoughts more than the groping, fuddled demands or inquiries of an inchoate mind in an untrained body — that the espers of E-Branch were especially interested in him. It was when they felt, sensed, experienced the awesome, alien power washing out from him as he experimented, or did whatever it was he did, that they knew for sure he wasn't merely a baby. And when those baby-blue eyes of his lit with a faraway expression seen previously only in his father's eyes, and they knew that he conversed with a teeming majority no one else but he and Harry Keogh could hear and talk to ...
Getting up mornings, the Necroscope would think of these things and, like Brenda, remember when it had been very different; when the world was a different place and he'd been a different person. It was easy to remember, for in his dreams he was still that other person. Hell, he was that person, even when he was awake! But only on the inside; which is to say, inside his head. For outside — in Harry's body and face and entire external appearance, and especially in the mirror — he was someone else. A man called Alec Kyle. Which took some getting used to.
That was probably why he clung so tightly to his dreams and was reluctant to let them go: because they were a form of wish-fulfillment, a place and a time when the world was a different world and the Necroscope a different person; himself.
This morning was the same, or should be ...
For some, especially the young, waking up to a new day is a renewal, like being born all over again: the first day of the rest of their lives. Despite that Harry seemed to have done an awful lot of living, he was still very young: twenty-one years old. But his body — or Alec Kyle's body — was ten years older. And knowing that this was what he must always wake up to, Harry really didn't want to. It wasn't that he was suicidal about it; the fact that he now inhabited an older and alien body scarcely made him long for death (not the Necroscope Harry Keogh, a man who'd had it from the horse's mouth more than once what it actually felt like to be dead, who knew what it really meant to be incorporeal!). It merely made him reluctant toward life, made it safer to be asleep and dreaming —
— Well, sometimes. It depended on what you were dreaming about.
Currently he was given to dream a recurrent theme of life (but his life, before all this) where, like the proverbial drowning man, he clung to the straws of his past existence only to feel them grow waterlogged and slip one by one from his straining fingers. Each straw was a scene from the times he had known and the life he had lived, the chronological story of his oh-so-strange adventures. So that like a drowning man facing his imminent, inescapable death, the dream-drowning Necroscope saw it all skipping before his eyes like a scratched, comically accelerated, badly edited monochrome film.
His childhood in Harden, on the north-east coast of England, where he had attended primary and secondary schools with the roughneck colliery kids; his retreat from the mundane world of the living into the minds and "lives" of the Great Majority; his secret being discovered by Sir Keenan Gormley, then Head of E-Branch, and his subsequent return to "the real world" ... his acceptance of his condition, the fact of his unique talent, and his willingness to use that talent by taking sides against the monstrous evils rooted in the USSR and Romania.
And superimposed on these accelerated glimpses out of the past, his lifelong relationship with Brenda, a simple colliery girl whose love had formed the strongest single link between Harry and the orthodox world, one of the few things that kept his feet planted firmly on solid ground when often as not his mind was under it. And superimposed even over this, a glowing picture or memory of his mother — radiant as any loving mother as visualized by her child: her soap and rose-petal scent, the sweet warmth of her sigh, a golden aura all around her, as if the sun had risen behind her to diffuse her brilliant silhouette — all too soon snuffed out by a maniac, who in his turn had been snuffed by Harry.
Which was always the point where the Necroscope's blue, poignant dreams turned a dark, vengeful red. For after Viktor Shukshin there'd been Thibor Ferenczy, Dragosani, Yulian Bodescu, Theo Dolgikh, Ivan Gerenko ... The list was a long one. And what of Faethor Ferenczy, that "father" or grandfather of vampires? Faethor had been dead for a long time now, true ... but so had Thibor before him, and even a dead and buried vampire is a threat. Harry still couldn't be one hundred percent certain that the Old Ferenczy hadn't left other remnants (or revenants?) to fester in the earth like Thibor, waiting out their time until a grand return ...
Colored by his fears and anxieties, the Necroscope's dream was quickly becoming confused. His mind was Harry Keogh's, but the brain that housed it had once belonged to Alec Kyle, a precog for E-Branch. Harry's truths — his thoughts, memories and emotions — dwelled now in those same vaults of complex, convolute cerebrum once Kyle's, where still the odd crevice or corner remained, not yet conforming to Harry's contours. Kyle's weird talent had been governed by the "shape" of that brain; his precognitive glimpses had used to come to him during those vague, confused periods of mental hiatus between dream and waking proper, at that point in time where the conscious and subconscious minds separate, allowing a dreamer to surface to reality. Nothing was left of Alec Kyle now, but the shape of his brain had not yet changed entirely; perhaps some small part of his talent lingered on.
For on the point of waking, suddenly Harry's dreams underwent a rapid transformation, mutating into sheerest nightmare! And because precognition is the dubious art of seeing the future — and the future is not a dream but a series of as yet unrealized events — it was as if everything that the Necroscope experienced was real as life. And the difference between these two dream-states was ... electrifying! Most people, including Harry, "know" that they are only dreaming, but on this occasion he didn't.
As before it was a kaleidoscope of scenes, fast-fleeting, over which he had no control. But where before he'd considered himself accustomed to strangeness ...
He stood in a place that wasn't of this world, at the rim of a desiccated plain of boulders that sprawled in one direction to an aurora-lit horizon, and in the other merged with foothills climbing steeply into mountains. Close by, a huge luminous dome was set in a walled crater like the eye of some fallen Cyclops in its buried skull, giving off a cold white light. The dome was like an alien pharos — but for what weird travelers? On high, the disc of a tumbling moon was lit half with the gold of an unseen sun, half with blue starshine; its surface pattern was in a state of flux, caused by the eccentricity of its orbit and rotation.
Clinging to what he knew of the geography of his own world, Harry's instinct told him that the aurora signaled north; odd, because that meant that the unseen sun lay far beyond the mountains in the south. But this was after all an alien world —
— To which he'd been sent ... been sent by ... by Faethor?
Here his reasoning faltered. To see the future is dangerous enough, but to try to remember what is yet to be ...!
Yet for a moment Harry had known that Faethor Ferenczy had sent him here, that his being here had at least been advised or guided by that father of vampires, that Lord of Lies. And also ... by Möbius? But for what reason? A quest, obviously — but why obviously? And if a quest, then for what, for whom?
He looked all about. The mountains on the one hand and the seemingly endless boulder plains on the other, and between them the enigmatic Gate, its cold white light flooding outward to silhouette the scattered, menhir-like boulders, casting unevenly concentric rings of shadow out into the Starside night.
The Gate? Starside? But these words, concepts, were meaningless to him ... weren't they? Now what the — !?
In the north-east he spied distantly rearing stacks, fantastic rock formations crowned with ... turrets? Towers? Tessellate stonework? ... Battlements? Or was the effect simply the work of an alien Nature? Harry thought not, for there were lights up there. Smoke curled from tall chimneys; motes moved with purpose in the dark air around the upper levels. At this distance they were motes, anyway ...
Suddenly Harry was aware that someone watched him. Spinning on his heel he fell into a crouch. On the boulder plain, only a short distance away, there stood a figure, slim, male, with a face of gold, burning in the reflected glare from the Gate. He held up a hand, gestured, said something, but Harry heard nothing. He was allowed to see but not to know ... the future guarded its secrets.
Harry knew instinctively that there was no danger here, not from this one, at least. And filled with strange emotions, he moved toward the other. Yet while he would have approached him anyway, this motions were involuntary, the flowing, maddeningly ungovernable mechanics of dream — or rather, of precognition. But the golden-faced one had commenced to make urgent gestures, pointing into the sky to the east. Harry looked.
And now there was danger here! Those motes circling the great stacks — but no longer motes! Dark blots, rapidly taking on grotesque outlines, descending out of the sky from the direction of the aeries, and —
Within his dream-self, Harry recoiled from the word. But his future-self continued to move toward The Dweller.
— The Dweller?
Finally he accepted that he was not given to know everything and concentrated on reaching the one who waited for him. But looking back he saw that the things in the sky were fast approaching, and that they were like nothing he had ever seen or nightmared before. One was winged, shaped something like a manta. The other was ... incredible, monstrous, gigantic! It squirted through the sky like a squid in water. And now Harry could see that the first creature had a rider — Shaithis of the Wamphyri? — and knew that the second was one of his constructs, a warrior.
Harry was close to The Dweller now ... Shaithis aboard his flyer was swooping down out of the sky ... the wind from the flyer's mighty manta wings blasted dust and grit up from the plain into Harry's and The Dweller's faces ... the creature's shadow fell on them as it shut out the stars!
The Dweller held up a wing of his cloak. Harry looked at him, at his golden mask, the scarlet eyes behind it, the mind behind the eyes ... and knew that mind! Yet he couldn't possibly know it! And for all the strangeness, still he was unable to stop himself as he stepped — or flowed — forward into the shadow of The Dweller's cloak, and felt it wrap about him ...
... And the kaleidoscopic picture changed. Harry had known what would happen next — except it didn't! Instead of finding himself in The Dweller's garden (whatever that might be) Alec Kyle's wild talent had snatched him into yet another possible future, or the same one but further down the time stream.
Now he was in the last great aerie of the Wamphyri ... Karenstack? And furtive as a thief, he pursued the Lady Karen as she descended to her larder. Sinister and silent as smoke, Karen flowed in through a dark doorway; following her, Harry kept to the shadows while she activated a trog and brought it out of its cocoon. He watched her lead the shambling, comatose neanderthal to a stone table where it lay down, stretched itself prone and bent back its ugly, prehistoric head for her.
Then the Lady's jaws opened ... opened ... gaped! Blood slopped from her crimson mouth; scythe teeth sprouted, poising over a sluggishly pulsing jugular. Her nose wrinkled, flattening back on itself, and her eyes burned as red as lanterns in the twilight room.
"Karen!" Harry heard himself attempting to cry — in the moment before the kaleidoscope scene changed, taking him forward again in time, but only a little way this time ...
... The Necroscope sat absolutely still, waiting ... (for what he didn't know, couldn't say, only that he felt tense as never before), in the deepest darkest shadows of the aerie. And eventually it came: Karen's vampire! By what route it had left her body, Harry neither knew nor wanted to know; sufficient that it was here, where he ... where he wanted it? It was a long leech, corrugated, cobra-headed, blind — and it had pointed udders, a great many.
Swaying its head this way and that, it inched forward ... then sensed him and commenced a hasty retreat! Curling back on itself, it wriggled like a blindworm; for now it must get back to safety, return itself to Karen's undead flesh. But the Necroscope wasn't about to let that happen.
Using his flamethrower, he burned it ... dying, it issued eggs, dozens of them, which spun and skittered, vibrating over the stone flags toward him. Sweating, but cold inside, Harry burned the eggs, too, every one of them. And as if from a million miles away — as if from someone else's dream — he heard the awful screaming, which he somehow knew was Karen's.
Then, abruptly, leaving him dizzy, disoriented, the scene changed yet again:
To a high balcony where he leaned out and looked down, and knew why he was dizzy: the terrible height! And way down there, crumpled on the scree, the Lady's white gown ... no longer entirely white but red, too.
Karen (or what he and the future-Harry thought was Karen), was inside it. And terribly, achingly, none of it made sense to him, or fleeting sense at best — there one minute and gone the next.
Excerpted from Necroscope®: The Lost Years by Brian Lumley. Copyright © 1995 Brian Lumley. Excerpted by permission of Tom Doherty Associates.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Table of Contents
Harry Keogh: A Résumé and Chronology.,
Part 1 - The Necroscope ... Harry Keogh?,
A Devious Thing.,
But Where Is Harry Keogh?,
Keenan Gormley, and Other Victims.,
R.L. Stevenson Jamieson, and His Brother ...,
... And One Other.,
Part 2 - Searching.,
For Brenda, and for Himself.,
Home with Bonnie Jean.,
Harry: Weird Warnings. Bonnie Jean: She Wonders and Worries.,
Harry: Presentiments and Precautions. Bonnie Jean: The Route to the Lair.,
Part 3 - Vampire Genesis.,
Shaitan: His Rise and Fall. Canis Sapiens: The Werewolf Connection.,
Dreams in Resin.,
Part 4 - Wamphyri: Ancient and Modern.,
More of Radu's Story. Bonnie Jean: She Visits Her Master.,
Bonnie Jean: Her Duties. The Dog-Lord: His Solution.,
A Picture of the Mind, A Photograph of the Future.,
Darcy's Target. Bonnie Jean at Harry's.,
One of the Other Ways. Truths, Half-Truths, and Damned Lies.,
Part 5 - Manse and Monastery: Aeries!,
Bonnie Jean: Birthday Party. Harry: Getting in Shape, and Funding His Search.,
Daham Drakesh-Le Manse Madonie-Dead Silence.,
Humph, and Others. In the Vaults Beneath.,
The Pit-Thing-The Climb-The Example.,
Part 6 - Harry Keogh, Catalyst.,
The Calm Before the Storm.,
"It Begins ...",
TOR BOOKS BY BRIAN LUMLEY,
Praise for Brian Lumley,
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Excellent book, by far one of Lumley's best works so far. Never a dull moment through the entire book!
This book is written in the same style that has captured my interest from the first Necroscope book. I thoroughly enjoyed it and will read the next, and next, and next Lumley books. I'm hooked and have been for years.