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Necronomicon: The Wanderings of Alhazred (Necronomicon Series) Paperback – December 8, 2004

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

First mentioned by H.P. Lovecraft in the 1920s and referred to throughout his fiction, the Necronomicon—a spurious book of occult knowledge—is so infamous that horror cognoscenti playfully speculate it might exist. Tyson (The Power of the Word) isn't the first writer to attempt a full "translation" of the forbidden text, but his may be the most comprehensive. After a brief history of the book's penning in the eighth century by the mad Arab Abdul Alhazred (eaten by an invisible nasty for his efforts), the text unfolds as a series of interrelated chapters that anatomize Lovecraft's monstrous entities (Cthulhu, Yog-Sothoth, etc.) in archaically musty prose, leavened with paraphrases of familiar passages from HPL's stories. Tyson embellishes this core material with the sort of astrologic and mystical content that Lovecraft himself considered nonsense. Readers who know Lovecraft's book from its evocative fragments won't be dissuaded from their belief that there are some things they are not meant to know.
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Review

"Scholarly horror, marvelously illustrated. Or as Lovecraft . . . would praise it: Ph'nglui nigliv'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeb wgab'nagl fhtagn. Id!" -- Kirkus
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Product Details

  • Series: Necronomicon Series (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Llewellyn Publications (December 8, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0738706272
  • ISBN-13: 978-0738706276
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 7 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #497,808 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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85 of 90 people found the following review helpful By C. A. Loewen on November 25, 2005
Format: Paperback
Necronomicon: The Wanderings of Alhazred is author Donald Tyson's attempt to recreate H. P. Lovecraft's fictional tome of cosmic horrors which form the basis of his Cthulhu Mythos. There have been other attempts to recreate mythical tomes that form the basis of Lovecraft's world, from James Blish notable attempt to recreate The King in Yellow in his short story, More Light to Chaosium Press' absolutely total artistic failure to recreate The Book of Eibon.

The reason Tyson's attempt works is simply because he has done his homework, he has an obvious love for the work of Lovecraft and his circle, and unlike Simon's execrable Necronomicon published by Avon, Tyson writes a work of fiction the Old Gentleman From Providence would have eagerly blessed.

The story starts with a young Abdul Alhazred telling his story of being thrown into the Great Desert in the Arabian Peninsula to die and his wanderings through the sand and dunes and its horrors as he learns the arcane, forbidden secrets of the Cthulhu Mythos. He wanders the labyrinth beneath the lost city of Irem, travels along the Nile where he visits monasteries and ancient tombs, the evil alleys and oubliettes of ancient Thebes, Memphis, and Alexandria and steals arcane secrets from the Monastery of the Magi and the horror they have entrapped there. Eventually Alhazred settles in Damascus to pursue his evil studies where through obvious supernatural means he dies horribly one day in the presence of its citizens.

Throughout, Lovecraft's quotes from the Necronomicon are seamlessly interwoven into the story line adding a spirit of "legitimacy" to the work.

It's a delightful read. It works. It isn't an insult to the intelligence.

Word of warning.
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53 of 58 people found the following review helpful By Yu Guo on January 5, 2005
Format: Paperback
Tysons "Necronomicon" is the best, nay the only Nec a fan of lovecraft should even think about reading. A well researched, well planned, and well exicuted Tribute to Lovecraft's most infamos creation. Tyson touches on almost everything the Lovecraft alludes to being in the maligned text in his fiction. Fans who wish to search for the passage from "Dunwitch Horror" will find it. The famos couplet? it's in there!

Tyson also does a terific job of keeping the tone of the book in line with the style and attetude of Lovecraft. The stories are great and even, in parts, quite disturbing.

As for the old "Shame on the Hoaxer" thing, i must reffer readers to the back cover. ""..i have spent my life writing about the arcane and my sense of kinship with the mad Arab has lead me to offer my own rendition of his teachings..." one does not have to be a scholar to figure this one out. The author of the book is DONALD TYSON not Abdul Alhazred. It does not proport to be anything other than a peice of entertainment. Is it writen with a perverbial 'straight face'? yes, that's what make this so much fun. Why would any one want to read a Nec that had "THISIS NOT REAL" plastered in big red letters across every page? Who needs to be told this over and over again? There are no magic spells or incanations that will bring about the end of days anywhere in the book. Is does not even resemble a book of magic or even magic therory.

This is a fine book for fans of the mythos, and of H.P. Lovecraft and it is even enjoyable to people totally unfamilliar with them. it's well written, engaging and fun. Those in the know will get a kick out of the fine little inside jokes and obscure references to the Mythos in H.P.'s fiction.

the only small complaits I had with it was the total lack of cool pictures of monsters and Tyson flubs the couplet a bit. Otherwise, it's appocolyptic fun for the whole family!
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Stefan Isaksson on June 23, 2006
Format: Paperback
This is a book that more or less only devoted fans of H.P. Lovecraft, his creation Necronomicon, the Cthulhu Mythos and so on will appreciate. In other words, unless you've read (and liked) the stories penned down by the Gentleman from Providence you won't find much pleasure in reading Tyson's Necronomicon.

Because in this book you'll follow in the footsteps of Alhazred (one of Lovecraft's characters who wrote the dreaded Necronomicon) and visit some of the strange places and their even stranger inhabitants he came across throughout his life.

And, well, that's that. End of book.

To be quite honest (and I always am in my reviews, regardless of whether I like the book or not), this one turned out to be pretty boring. It deals exclusively with creatures such as Cthulhu, Nyarlathotep, Yog-Sothoth, and others; and locations such as Atlantis, the sunken city of R'lyeh, Alexandria, and so on. So you see, if you know your Lovecraft you know what I'm talking about, and if you don't, well, then this book isn't really for you.

It's true that it's filled to the brim with useful information. But only for the ones already initiated.

And I'm sad to report that it's never a very exciting read, since the text throughout the book is descriptive only (except for a very short passage at the end of the book, on pages 264-265 where Alhazred battles a group of murderous ghouls at a cemetery outside Damascus).

Sure, I'm a sucker for Alhazred, The Old Ones, The Elder Things, and everything else related to master Lovecraft, just like any other devoted fan. And thus I appreciated the book for the tons of information it gave me.

So don't get me wrong, Tyson's Necronomicon is well-written and at times extremely fascinating, but despite of all the useful data and beautifully crafted sentences it eventually did - and unfortunately, I must say - transform into a boring read.

I wish it didn't. But it did.
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