Necroscope III: The Source: Harry visits another world

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Necroscope III: The Source by Brian Lumley horror book reviewsNecroscope III: The Source by Brian Lumley

Necroscope III: The Source by Brian LumleyWarning: This review will contain spoilers for the previous books, Necroscope. And Necroscope II: Vamphyri!. You’ll want to read those books before picking up this one.

Harry Keogh is back and now he’s got a body again. How that came about is a sad tale that you need to read about in Necroscope II: Vamphyri!. You’d think that all would be well now — Harry could get back with his wife and son and maybe life could somewhat normalize, though Harry, of course, still hears from the dead and can travel through time and space on the Mobius Continuum, so maybe Harry is never going to be normal or even really desire a normal sort of life….

… but anyway, even if he did, he can’t, because his wife and son have disappeared and he can’t find them anywhere. He’s been looking for eight years and knows that they’re not in the world and they’re not dead. So, where are they? The answer to this, as Harry will find out, has to do with a secret Russian military base. Well, it’s supposed to be secret, but the British know about it and have sent their agent Jazz Simmons to investigate. Something really weird is going on there and — surprise! — it involves Vampires (the Vamphyri, or Wamphyri). The Russians have accidentally discovered, and are hiding, the “source” world of the Vampires. Could Harry’s family be in that world? He’s going to find out. Meanwhile, the Vampires are planning an invasion of the human world and they are being unwittingly assisted by Russian scientists.

Necroscope (16 Book Series) by Brian Lumley horror book reviewsThis third installment of Brian Lumley’s NECROSCOPE series brings a twist to the story. This is the first time we’ve heard of a source world where Vampires lord over the other unfortunate denizens of that surreal place. Some readers may find this too far out, but I enjoyed the change of scenery. I didn’t like any of the new characters, though, and have a hard time liking anyone but Harry and maybe the Russian woman named Zek, and I don’t like them that much. This is not the series for readers who need to love the characters.

It’s also not the series for readers who need the author to get to the point. Excessively long descriptive passages and info-dumps litter the novel, making it much longer than it needs to be. This has been an issue all along, but it’s becoming more obvious with each novel that there’s not nearly as much plot as there should be for the book’s length and Lumley spends way too much time telling us about people, places, and events that don’t much matter and aren’t very interesting. Just too much description and backstory. Each novel could easily be reduced by half.

I’m listening to Macmillan Audio’s new audiobook editions narrated by James Langton. He’s perfectly cast and does a wonderful job. I don’t know if they have plans to produce the rest of the NECROSCOPE novels. The next one is Necroscope IV: Deadspeak. If it comes out in audio format, I’ll read it.

One last thing: These covers are awful!

Published in 1989. The third book in the Necroscope series traces the battle between Harry Keogh and the horrifying Vamphyri on their home ground, an alien landscape of looming towers, impossible cliffs, and ravenous vampire-beasts. Russia’s Ural Mountains hide a deadly secret: a supernatural portal to the country of the vampires. Soviet scientists and ESP-powered spies, in a secret military base, study the portal–and the powerfully evil creatures that emerge from it, intent on ravaging mankind. When Jazz Simmons, a British agent sent to infiltrate the base, is captured by the KGB espionage squad and forced through the portal, his last message tells Harry Keogh, the Necroscope, that the vampires are preparing for a mass invasion. Harry has only one option–to strike first. He must carry the human-vampire war to the vampire’s own lands. But his strongest psychic power will be useless there. What good is the power to summon the dead in a country where nothing ever dies, where every man, woman, and child become half-dead servants of the Vamphyri?

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KAT HOOPER, who started this site in June 2007, earned a Ph.D. in neuroscience and psychology at Indiana University (Bloomington) and now teaches and conducts brain research at the University of North Florida. When she reads fiction, she wants to encounter new ideas and lots of imagination. She wants to view the world in a different way. She wants to have her mind blown. She loves beautiful language and has no patience for dull prose, vapid romance, or cheesy dialogue. She prefers complex characterization, intriguing plots, and plenty of action. Favorite authors are Jack Vance, Robin Hobb, Kage Baker, William Gibson, Gene Wolfe, Richard Matheson, and C.S. Lewis.

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4 comments

  1. These covers!! They’re very 80s, haha.

  2. Even his short(er) fiction, like short stories and novellas, suffers from long, ornate prose passages that I always found a little self-indulgent given the genre. And LOTS of exposition!

    • Wow, I figured he’d be better about that in shorter works, but I guess not. I almost used the word “purple” for the prose, but it isn’t quite purple. Ornate is a good word. So is self-indulgent.

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