So I have yet to think of a catchy title for my book reviews. (Suggestions are always welcome!) Until then, we’re going to stick with the simple fare. Here is a plain ol’ review of Brian Lumley’s book, Titus Crow: The Burrowers Beneath / The Transition of Titus Crow.
Pictured: True Love
Lumley has an amazing writing style, and one day I will have to pour my thoughts about him (and others) into a blog all his own. Suffice it to say, he’s a fantastic writer and his approach his all his own.
In terms of the book at hand, Lumley takes on the Old Ones, fathered by H. P. Lovecraft. The style in which both The Burrowers Beneath and The Transition of Titus Crow are written is very reminiscent of Lovecraft. While the vocabulary is updated (but mind you, it’s still dated by our 2011 standards considering both were originally written prior to 1975) from the words used by Lovecraft and crew, the Titus Crow books are permeated by the atmosphere and power locked within the pages of such masterpieces as The Shadow Over Innsmouth and The Call of Cthulhu.
The title character, Titus Crow, is completely Lumley’s creation. Unlike many of the fragile-minded protagonists in Lovecraft’s work, usually left doddering as insanity soaked them through, Lumley’s characters are made of sterner stuff. Lumley is quoted as saying:
I have trouble relating to people who faint at the hint of a bad smell. A meep or glibber doesn’t cut it with me. (I love meeps and glibbers, don’t get me wrong, but I go looking for what made them!) That’s the main difference between my stories…and HPL’s. My guys fight back. Also, they like to have a laugh along the way.
I can’t help but relate to this thinking. I know as much as I enjoy Lovecraft’s work, I still feel a little letdown that humanity isn’t able to put up a better fight.
But that’s not what’s going to happen in this book! Not with a main character who looks like this –>
That is one awesome moustache and beard combination. One that will defeat Cthulhu!
I will be honest, though. I read the book last August, so it has been a while. That said, a lot has stuck with me. Crow has some amazing adventures in Transition, including encounters with the Hounds of Tyndalos, travels to new worlds and dimensions, spending an exorbitant amount of time lost among the space time continuum and more.
The Burrower’s Beneath, quite frankly, was amazing. Fraught with tension, and of the can’t-be-put-down-all-night quality that can be so hard to find in books today, The Burrower’s Beneath is not only readable despite its dated language, but enjoyable beyond measure.
Also, there was one bit that prompted me to actually write a note for my own devices. While I’m certain I’ve seen this method used before, it never quite set off the flash bulb in my brain enough for what it does to sink in. Here, within the delicate folds of Titus Crow, I had an Eureka Moment.
Pictured: Eureka – House Style
Whether to save room for stories in the future, while tantalizing readers today, or whatever his reasons, there are a few sections of Transition that are elliptical’d. Quite a bit. Leaving delicious bits exposed for the reader’s taste buds, while hiding the juicier heft to our imagination. I must say that while it left me a little frustrated and wanting to know more, I found it overall a wonderful way of teasing me to the point of … extreme satisfaction … but not quite getting me there in the end. Which leaves the rest of the novel to satisfy my hungry demands.
Titus Crow does just that. Overall, if you’re a fan of Lovecraft, it is extremely like you’ll enjoy this book, among Lumley’s many other takes on the Cthulu Mythos. If you’re not a fan of Lovecraft, reading this will make you one, or at the least curious enough to seek out the original.
Head on over to Amazon and pick up Titus Crow today!