titus crow 1

Brian Lumley
Tor
1991

Years before Brian Lumley created his iconic Necroscope series, he previously created a supernatural investigator named Titus Crow.  Well, maybe “supernatural” is the wrong word to use, as the kind of weirdness Titus Crow investigated is based firmly in the Cthulhu mythos created by H. P. Lovecraft decades before.  And since Brian Lumley has proven himself more than capable of playing in Lovecraft’s nightmarish playground, making something of a Sherlock Holmes of the Cthulhu mythos was something of a no-brainer, really.  I don”t know why, it just seems like one.

And really, Sherlock Holmes meets Lovecraft is a rather apt description, as the titular character in these two novellas is just as smart, eccentric, prone to falling into life-threatening circumstances, and has a Watson sidekick of his own.  I’m beginning to wonder if the Conan-Doyle estate hadn’t tried to sue him in the past.  I might have to scour my copy of the Brian Lumley Companion to find out anything.  But, back to the matter at hand…

Titus Crow, Volume One is an omnibus reprinting of the first two Titus Crow novellas – The Burrowers Beneath, first published in 1974, and The Transition Of Titus Crow, first published in 1975.  In the first tale, we first meet the titular character by way of letters between him and other correspondents, and through writings of his companion Henri-Laurent de Marigny, and his adventure trying to defeat a giant worm that an off-shore drilling team accidentally stumble upon and awaken.  The second tale involves Titus Crow’s adventures traveling in the Clock of Dreams, a device that can travel space and time.  Kind of like a coffin-shaped TARDIS, only instead of being bigger on the inside, it’s really more of a black void with buttons.

Between the two, I do like “The Transition Of Titus Crow” a bit more, but both are fantastic tales that kept my rapt attention throughout.  What I like about Lumely’s take on the whole Cthulhu is that the characters who encounter these nightmarish entities try to fight back, despite having the odds stacked against them.  Instead of fainting at the mere sight of these entities, they go down fighting.  That’s one of my biggest hang-ups with Lovecraft’s descriptions: we humans are all wusses and will submit at the mere belch from the Ancient Ones.  In the Titus Crow stories, at least we give it the ol’ college try, there.

Overall, being one of my favorite authors and all, I of course enjoyed the heck out of Titus Crow, Volume 1.  I hope to continue collecting these Titus Crow stories, though it’s looking more and more evident that I’ll have to go through internet means to do so.  Either way, Titus Crow volume 1: Recommended.