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Necronomicon: The Wanderings of Alhazred (Necronomicon Series) Paperback – December 8, 2004
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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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"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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Top Customer Reviews
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. There are some very strange people out there who believe the Necronomicon is real and actually base their world view on Lovecraft's fictional work. Don't let those who have never seen the world outside of mommy's basement ruin your enjoyment of a great work of horror fiction.
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!