“Like Tyson’s Necronomicon and related works, Alhazred draws heavily from the work of early 20th-century American fiction writer H. P. Lovecraft.”

NO MAJOR SPOILERS

Abdul al Hazred, better known as the Mad Arab, was the author of the Necronomicon (“Book of the Law of the Dead”); a notorious tome that recounted his learnings and explorations of the occult mysteries of the vast and trackless wastes of the deserts of Sana’a.

Best known as a hagiography of the Old Gods; Yog Sothoth, Cthulhu, Baal, Yig,  Nyarlathotep, etc the Necronomicon is, in fact, a completely fictional work that exists only within the Cthulhu Mythos started by HP Lovecraft and perpetuated by a raft of like-minded authors ever since Howard Phillips (that incorrigible old racist) first put pen to paper.

However, Donald Tyson did in fact write and publish his own vision of the Necronomicon, and a fine and convincing rendition it is too. He followed it up with this, supposedly a biography of the Mad Arab himself.

It starts with Alhazred’s transgression, disgrace, torture and exile from the court of King Huban ibn Abd Allah in Yemen and thence follows the layout of Tyson’s Necronomicon, as Our Hero consorts with ghouls, explores dead cities, partakes of human flesh (the more gamey the better, it would seem) and dabbles in necromancy and self-resurrection. Well, I say “dabble”… more like immerses himself entirely without recourse even to a pair of water-wings. Hardly surprising that no one ever came to his cocktail parties.

Like its predecessor, Alhazred is a well written and feverishly imaginative piece of work. It is fairly long and it does tend to drag through the middle. Having read Necronomicon immediately before hand, perhaps I was too familiar with the direction the plot was taking and with the occult details of the story within. Nevertheless, it’s a good companion piece and adds flesh to the bones (so to speak…) of Tyson’s addition to the Lovecraftian canon.

Well worth a read, but please don’t forget to appease the Elder Ones with a sacrificial virgin after each chapter.

 

Reviewed by:

Campbell McAulay

Added 18th June 2015

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Campbell McAulay

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