Charles Ward, even as a child, had always wandered the streets of ancient Providence, drawn inexorably to its domes and spires, its hills and homes, its history and its haunts. His antiquarian habits were always just so: an innocent preoccupation with the city and its wonders. Yet, when the discovery of a shadowy ancestor exposes an eldritch malevolence long thought to be contained, Charles must resist the dark grip of his fascination, before it consumes him, and his world, completely.
Please enjoy this new reading of a rare full-length tale from H. P. Lovecraft, the original master of the cosmic macabre, dedicated to the 125th Anniversary of his birth.
Public Domain (P)2015 Neil Hellegers
All of my reviews are on my blog audiobookreviewer dot com
Charles Dexter Ward is fascinated by all things old. In his research, he discovers that he is the ancestor of a mysterious and shadowy figure who terrorized Eighteenth Century Providence. Charles becomes obsessed with finding not only all he can about the man, but also his methods. Soon, he finds himself mired in witchcraft, necromancy and alchemy, perhaps too deep to save his own soul.
Though written in the early Twentieth Century, this tale reads with a distinctly Nineteenth Century feel. Lovecraft spends much of the book creating mood through elaborate description and allusion. This is not what most modern readers/listeners are used to. Stick with it, and you are rewarded with a dark and troubling tale. Most of the action is alluded to, not described in detail, but is horrifying none-the-less.
For many lovers of horror, it is important to look to the past for the inspiration to our modern stories. Certainly H.P. Lovecraft stands tall. There is a penetrating dark mood and helplessness that permeates the story. The listener feels as trapped as Charles’ family as they watch him change from a youth full of promise and curiosity to a somber, secretive man who locks himself in his laboratory chanting unearthly spells in the dead of night.
The story is narrated by Neil Hellegers. His brilliant performance literally raises the tiny hairs on the back of one’s neck. It just doesn’t get better. You may find yourself hearing his deep voice in your mind when you hear a bump in the night.
If you like Edgar Allan Poe, H.G. Wells, Bram Stoker (Dracula), Mary Shelley (Frankenstein), you will very likely enjoy this story. If long descriptions and a slowly constructed plot have discouraged you in the past, don’t give up so easily. Give it another try; you may be surprised how much you like a richly developed story. The greater the challenge, the greater the reward.
Audiobook was provided for review by the narrator.
Please find this complete review and many others at my review blog
[If this review helped, please press YES. Thanks!]
I would absolutely recommend this audiobook to fans of Lovecraft, as well as readers of classic literature and horror.
Neil Hellegers' voice is made for reading this sort of material. It has a deep smokey quality that vibrates with a dark tenor of grim solemnity. He brings a kind of gravitas to the reading that not many could match.
This is one of Lovecraft's stories that I hadn't read before, which made this a real treat for me. This is one of those stories that scores of writers since have stolen from or tried to emulate. The story may seem familiar to you at first for that very reason. You may even think you know where it is going. And there were a few times (especially in the first third) where I remembered that Lovecraft was paid by the word. BUT I was quickly drawn into this story. Despite the archaic language used nearly 100 years ago, I was obsessed with my daily listen until I reached the gripping conclusion. It did NOT end how I expected it to. There is a reason why Lovecraft was considered a master.
This is a fantastic story. Not to be missed.
The narrator's inability to pronounce words kept taking me out of the story. He got worse toward the end of the piece until I finally got annoyed enough to turn it off without finishing. I'm not talking about Lovecraftian jaw-breakers like "Nyarlathotep". You couldn't take two seconds to look up the pronunciation of "malodorous" before recording this? Really?
This wasn't my favorite Lovecraft story, but it's far from the worst. Definitely try it, but with a different narrator.
Report Inappropriate Content
If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.