The year’s started off with a bang. First, He Who Walks In Shadow made the preliminary ballot for the Bram Stoker Award. Doesn’t make it a nominee yet, but it’s a step in the right direction. And a number of end of year best lists included HWWIS in their ranks. I’ve listed them below. Check them out. You could do worse for a reading list for the next year.
Brett J. Talley’s He Who Walks in Shadow was a great supernatural adventure that was part Robert Langdon, part Indiana Jones, and all awesome! Not so much a horror story, but a lot of fun!
The sequel to That Which Should Not Be was anticipated with all kinds of excitement, but Talley manages to exceed them all with an intelligent expansion of his established universe. He lovingly re-creates scenes from the early parts of the twentieth century, yet unlike many of Lovecraft’s works, his styles remains eminently accessible. Talley also does not shy away from describing the horrors his characters find on their journey across much of Europe (and beyond), and at one point he pokes a little fun at the master when one of the characters acknowledges that another contemporary writer had the “inability to describe properly the things he has seen”. Pure gold.
This epistolary novel, collecting a series of journal entries, chronicles a suspenseful race against time and the Old Ones, is so much more than just another Mythos rehash/re-imagining. Infusing his tale with both real and weird history (The Russian Revolution/The Tunguska Event), brilliant characters and a real sense of dread, Talley has done something incredible…..he’s not only given life to the Mythos….under his guidance, it is evolving.
Highest possible recommendation.
And of course, it wouldn’t be fair to include the Best Of lists without also including a WORST OF list, my favorite distinction of the year. Can’t win them all.
I have read works by Talley before (see my review of The Void here), so when this book came up as an offering as part of LibraryThing’s Early Reviewers, I leapt at the chance to read it. Oh Lordie! Bearing in mind the overall problems I’ve had with reading in general recently, and niche markets in particular, it is no surprise that I had issues with this book.
Little did I know when I put my name forward, that this is the sequel to Talley’s THAT WHICH SHOULD NOT BE. Dr. Carter Weston continues the fight to contain “The Old Ones” and act as a guard to the barrier keeping them from wiping out humanity. His daughter, Rachael Jones, joins him after working with Henry Armitage to rescue Carter from the Nazis. There is plenty of change in terms of narration – the story is told from various standpoints, including individual journals and other documents, and several key scenes from Weston’s past adventures. In this novel, the focus is on Nyarlathoep –a guardian set upon awakening “The Old Ones” and freeing them from their slumber.
The blurb and the setup of the novel attracted me, and I should have enjoyed things. However, this became virtually impossible to finish – I really didn’t care for anyone well ahead of the ending, so I am ashamed to admit this was a DNF.