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Customer Review

on 25 May 2013
I heard that this was one of the few Derleth-era mythos stories worth a re-read, from someone who had wearily slogged his way through all the early mythos fiction. So I thought I'd try it. The opening is suitably Lovecraftian in style, but sadly this style isn't sustained. The rest of the novel is written and plotted in a very straightforward action-adventure style. There are none of Lovecraft's plot switchbacks or loops, piecing together of knowledge via scholarly and topographical detective work, or baroque language in harness with a weird imagination. We open with a Jules Verne -like expedition being readied and getting underway, and then the plot just tunnels straightforwardly forward to the fairly obvious conclusion. The level of fine detail about the expedition reminds one of _At The Mountains of Madness_. It's a perfectly workmanlike popular short novel written for the mass market of the 1970s, but as such it lacks Lovecraft's wild and unique imagination. It will appeal to those who find Lovecraft himself too difficult to read, and will perhaps appeal most especially to tabletop RGP gamers in search of a scenario heavy on 1930s exploration machines, monsters and machine-guns.
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