Saturday, 30 May 2009

Necroscope by Brian Lumley

Title: Necroscope

Author: Brian Lumley

Year: 1986

Genre: Paranormal Horror

Plot: Harry Keogh is a necroscope -- he knows the thoughts of corpses in their graves. Unfortunately for Harry, his talent works both ways. The outer limits of horror are unleashed when Harry Keogh is recruited by the E-Branch (E for ESP) of the British Secret Service to combat his own evil counterpart, the deadly Romanian Boris Dragosani. Long buried in hallowed ground, bound by earth and silver, the master vampire schemes and plots. Trapped in unlife, neither dead nor living, Thibor Ferenczy hungers for freedom and revenge. The vampire's human tool is Boris Dragosani, part of a super-secret Soviet spy agency. Dragosani is an avid pupil, eager to plumb the depthless evil of the vampire's mind. Ferenczy teaches Dragosani the awful skills of the necromancer, gives him the ability to rip secrets from the mind and bodies of the dead. Dragosani works not for Ferenczy's freedom but is in the pay of an ultra-secret Soviet paranormal agency over which he means to gain power for himself with knowledge raped from the dead. His speciality is tearing secrets from the souls of newly dead traitors. His only opponent: Harry Koegh. Like Dragosani, Harry is a necroscope who can speak with the dead.But Harry is a champion of the dead -- and the living.

From the Romanian mausoleum where the undead vampire tests the limits of his bonds, the stage is set for the most horrifying, violent supernatural confrontation ever when Harry Keogh is recruited by the British Secret Service to take on Dragosani. To protect Harry, the dead will do anything -- even rise from their graves!

Review: Wow! It's nearly impossible to describe how I feel about this book. I was given it to read by my father - the pair of us share a mutual love of horror books and films. I'm always keen to read more vampire books but, good God, this is so much more than a vampire book.

When I started reading Necroscope, I couldn't help but notice that it was rather dated. From the summary on the back, and the rather slow and (unfortunately) clichéd beginning I had my doubts about what I was getting myself into it. Slowly but surely, though, the story began to pick up. I understood what Lumley was doing. He doesn't want you to miss a thing. He wants you to know the ins and outs of every character in his story because, the moment the drama begins, that's when things get complicated. Let me give you a checklist of what to expect:

  1. E.S.P. - (We're talking telepathy, future predictions, mind control, evil eyes and, of course, talking to the dead)
  2. Vampires (and their history)
  3. Zombies
  4. Time Travel (in a sense)
It's a hell of a lot of detail to cram into one book but Lumley pulls if off perfectly. How he manages this is by introducing you to the characters when they are equally as clueless and naive about these things as you. Despire the fact that his two central heroes, Dragosani and Keogh, hold these formidable powers, their characters and backgrounds are well established and written out which makes you truly believe that these two men are really human and could really exist.

The story itself is completely original - not what it would seem at first, so keep reading. We have Harry and Dragosani working for two seperate secret services - both of which run on E.S.P. talents. Then the vampires are thrown in. Then the talking (and walking) dead. And just before the story reaches it conclusion, elements of space and time travel are thrown in for extra measure.

It's so difficult to completely describe how imaginative, exciting, and spine-tingling this story is. The words speak for themselves and, as a result, I can't give a full review on why I loved this. It's written wonderfully and is clearly something Lumley has taken the time to put together for his readers, inviting them to explore every speck of his imagination. This is the first book in a long series - a series I will definitely be pursuing in time to come because the story isn't over yet. I want to know what happens to those characters that are left behind. All I can say is, if you like a fun and fast-paced story, don't mind a bit of gore, and enjoy anything out of the ordinary, read it for yourself. You won't regret it.

Rating: 5*****  


William Malmborg said...

Necroscope and the series that follows by Brian Lumley is one of the best. You are in for a treat.

Ceri said...

William - Thanks for commenting on that. Yeah, I really can't wait to read the rest. I loved the first book. :-D