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The Taint and Other Novellas

Best Mythos Tales
Narrated by: Joshua Saxon
Length: 12 hrs and 14 mins
Categories: Fiction, Horror
4.5 out of 5 stars (22 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Prior to the first American publication of Brian Lumley's ground-breaking, dead-waking, best-selling Necroscope in 1988 - the first novel in a long-lived, much-loved series - this British author had for 20 years been earning himself something of a reputation writing short stories, novellas, and a series of novels set against H. P. Lovecraft's cosmic Cthulhu Mythos backdrop. A soldier in 1967, serving in Berlin with the Royal Military Police, Lumley jump-started his literary career by writing to August Derleth, the then-dean of macabre publishers at his home in Sauk City, Wisconsin, telling of his fascination with the Mythos, and purchasing books by the Old Gentleman of Providence, RI. In addition, he sent a page or two of written work allegedly culled from the various forbidden or black books of the Mythos. Suitably impressed, the master of Arkham House invited Lumley to write something solid in the Mythos as a possible contribution to a new volume he was currently contemplating, to be titled - what else but? - Tales of the Cthulhu Mythos. And as might well be imagined, that set everything in motion. Forty years have passed since then and a good many words of Mythos fiction written, including critically acclaimed and award-nominated work, stories that have appeared in prestigious magazines such as Fantasy & Science Fiction, and hardcover volumes from publishers all over the world from the USA to China and the United Kingdom to Russia. But while Lumley's novels are all currently available, many of them in hardcover format, his Mythos short stories and novellas have until now remained uncollected. Here in this volume are found the novellas; the future companion volume will contain the short stories. And thus the very best of Brian Lumley's works in this sub-genre, including such recent tales as "The Hymn" and "The Taint", are collected and presented for the first time in audio format...

©2007 Brian Lumley (P)2019 David N. Wilson

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Creepy Green Light

What a treat! I requested this audio book but i was in no way prepared for this much fun. I really enjoyed this collection of cosmic doom. Each story tackles a different mythos from H.P. Lovecraft's making. The writing is so good. The stories are great and fun. If your a fan of HPL, you definitely should pick this one up.
Joshua Saxton read this. He did really great. His voice sounds so smart and scholarly. I felt he added sophistication to the production.

As i said earlier, i requested this audio book and voluntary left this review.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

A few good stories in this one.

I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

I have to admit, I struggled with this one. I had to take breaks, listen to something else and then come back to this one.

While the stories are not bad stories, I found them a bit repetitive and somewhat drawn out.

A couple of the stories however were very good, and held my attention very well, the titled story "The Taint" being one of those. It was really just hit and miss for me with this one.

Narration was well done.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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The taint!

The taint was my fav story in the book, perfect.

This book was given to me for free at my request and I provided this voluntary review.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Loved!

This is the third book by Brian Lumley that I've listened to, and they have all been super great! I remember in the past attempting to read an H.P. Lovecraft story (don't remember which one) but, needless to say, I had a hard time focusing, like it just didn't call to me, which means that I didn't finish it. So while these were Lovecraft-ish, I had no problem here.

Of course, Joshua Saxton, my #1 fav narrator, did an amazing job. I did realize with this batch of stories that his female voices weren't really "female," like he kind of stuck with his regular voice. I know he's read for female characters in previous books, but I don't remember what he did for them. Either way, that did not deter me.

Anyways, I love when authors provide the readers an explanation of how they came up with their short stories, or something along that line; I always find that an interesting bonus.
I think my favorite story was "Lord of the Worms."


I received a free audiobook copy in exchange for an honest review.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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I loved everything about this book

I'm a huge fan of Lumley's Necroscope series so when I saw this I just had to check it out. It was pristine. Each story comes with a short preface from the author about his views on the story. It adds a nice personal touch. My two favorites were The Taint and Lord of the Worms. I love the classic Lovecraftian feel that you get from this volume.
To add to all of that the narration is superb.
"I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review."

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • S A
  • Portland, OR USA
  • 09-23-19

Solid Additions to the Mythos

There isn't a whole lot of new ground here, but there are some new critters. The storyline is the usual unsuspecting or deliberate intent to make contact with nasties from outside our world has bad consequences that may or may not entail the release of said nasties in our world.
Brian Lumeley is a good writer and even though some of these stories are older, they are well delivered and fit into both the Lovecraft style and world with no conflicts.
Joshua Saxon delivers the stories with style and adds a lot to the contents interest.
I was given this free audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Unbiasedly and unabashedly fantastic!

**DISCLAIMER**
I have NOT (gasp) read Lovecraft or any other works in the Cthulhu Mythos (with the exception of Robert E Howard's Conan stories, which I consider to be only tenuously connected). Therefore, my review will be based on this book alone on its own merits with no biases or comparisons to other Mythos works.

That said, while novella is a very broad term that can be quite a range of lengths, here we have a nice collection of what I would call mostly short stories. There are a number of twist endings and reversals that were a pleasure to read.

About the audiobook narrator:
Joshua Saxon has a pleasant, eminently listenable voice and an impressive ability to draw multiple voices and accents. My one complaint is something quite common, particularly with deeper-voiced male narrators; his female voices are basically just softer toned versions of male voices. However, he has great control of vocal inflections and his tempo shifts throughout the text are spot on.

Now, the stories.
First, I would like to thank the author for the explanation in the opening about what constitutes the Cthulhu Mythos, as heretofore my only exposure to it has been via (very brief) experience with the tabletop RGP, Call of Cthulhu.

Now, here we have quite an array of stories that cover several different themes and approaches to the mythos. The one overarching idea that comes across is almost all of them is that generally speaking, humans in a Cthulhu story are doomed.

Now, some readers may consider that a point against these stories, as happy endings are a rare thing. But personally, I feel that as a culture we've lost touch with the reality that typically when people encounter monsters, we rarely come out on top. Even most modern horror has lost touch with that.

So, for me, the fact that the protagonist rarely wins is not only a point in favor, but several points in favor. This is what horror is. This is what horror should be. Horror is meant to be, well, horrifying. And while some of these stories lean more toward the grotesque rather than truly horrifying, they still do their work quite well.

I was particularly fond of "The Taint," "Lord of the Worms," and "Born of the Winds." Each for different reasons.

In short, whether you enjoy realistic (while still supernatural) horror or if you are specifically a fan of Lovecraft or Cthulhu Mythos, I highly recommend giving this a read.

**DISCLAIMER 2**
I received a free copy of this audiobook from the publisher and am voluntarily leaving my honest and unbiased review.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Just wow.

I've read a bit of Lumley's work, even seen one of these short stories before in a Titus Crowe compilation but as good as those were and as good as the other novellas here are nothing was quite so good as The Taint for me. It is however one of those stories that are better read than discussed. If you're on the fence pick this up, you won't be dissapointed.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Profile Image for Chris Halliday
  • Chris Halliday
  • 10-06-19

Superior Mythos Tales

Among Lovecraftians, Brian Lumley can be a “marmite” author; you either love his work or hate it. His Mythos novels - like the Titus Crow series - tend to be pulpy and overblown, the antithesis of Lovecraft’s cosmic horror. His short stories and novellas though, are deft and classy examples of the weird tale. The title story, “The Taint”, is one of the finest slow burn Lovecraftian stories ever written, and the rest of the tales in this collection approach it in quality.

The narration - bar the occasional place name mispronunciation - is excellent. I look forward to enjoying the other collections in this series.

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Profile Image for Dee
  • Dee
  • 09-25-19

Excellent

I enjoyed this book from start to finish. Brian Lumleys take on the Cthulhu Mythos is fantastic. Joshua Saxons narration is spot on. I will definitely be on the lookout for more of the same.

This book was given to me for free at my request and I provided this voluntary review.