Link to us!
If you would like to use the graphic above, just save the icon image to your server and link it back to feoamante.com!
THE NECROMANCER - 2003
by Douglas Clegg
Cemetery Dance Publications
THE NECROMANCER is an intriguing piece of fiction, particularly for those who have already
become enamored of Douglas Clegg's Harrow House and the incidents, magic,
and madness that surround it. Too often authors give us an interesting
family, or a memorable character, and when the last page of the book dribbles
away, we are left with questions that will never be answered. Sometimes,
that is enough, but in this case, readers will find themselves enthralled
by the early life and lessons of young Justin Gravesend.
Justin was born in Wales to that father we all loathe, the brimstone preaching,
fire-spitting moral ogre. Misunderstood, a disappointment to his parents,
Gravesend leaves that dismal world behind and strikes out on his own.
Without spoiling the adventure for the reader, suffice it to say that
there are places for one such as Justin Gravesend in the world, and he
manages to find them.
There is a richness to the prose in this book reminiscent of "The Confessions
of an Opium Eater," penned so long ago. Side by side, they might
have been written by contemporaries, and that is the magic of Clegg's
prose in this volume. Justin Gravesend's world was the Europe of the mid
1800s, and it comes alive in the pages of THE NECROMANCER.
There is none of the clumsiness of many modern authors trying to step
back in time. There is no pretentious attempt to mimic the voice, or the
feel of the time; you are simply there. Add to this Alistair Crowleyeque indoctrination into ritual sex magic,
some interesting brothels and foppish society friends, and you have the
elements behind THE NECROMANCER, and the key to The Necromancer himself, who Justin meets, at last, and
who sets him on the path to his future.
This book is a new beginning in an old story. There is the hint of much to
come, and the desire to see and experience it. Comparisons could be made
to Peter Straub's SHADOWLANDS and Clive Barker's THE GREAT AND SECRET
SHOW, but they would do the injustice of suggesting that the world of
Harrow House, Justin Gravesend, and The Necromancer are anything but original.
In short, while it stands alone well enough, it is obviously a piece in a
larger pattern. This is the failing of many novellas, and may irritate
some readers, in this case, as the ending is more of a prequel to a beginning
- the story of Justin Gravesend later in life. I believe that those who
take the time to get it and read it will discover themselves wanting more
- sadly, that more is not yet upon us. Part of that is due to the fact
it is a novella, of course. You only get 134 pages in this book, and that
is always a consideration, but in this case, I think it's an expense well
worth it. When all is said and done, you won't want part of the picture,
but the whole picture, and as the Harrow House story unfolds to its completion,
the tale of Justin Gravesend, the hous's creator, is an indispensable installment.
This review copyright 2003 E.C.McMullen Jr.
Return to Story Time