Necroscope: Invaders

Brian Lumley, Author Tor Books $25.95 (384p) ISBN 978-0-312-86814-7
Vast in scope and overripe with extraordinary characters and incidents, Lumleys proliferating Necroscope saga almost mandates a book-length reference companion. This new novel, the 11th in the series (after Resurgence, 1996) and the first in an offshoot trilogy, carries on the tradition in fine form, but also shows the problems inherent in keeping the increasingly byzantine intrigues of these horror/espionage hybrids accessible to new readers. During an explosive start, in which psychic agents of the hard-working E- (short for ESP) Branch smoke out a nest of vampires in the Australian desert, the novel introduces Jake Cutter, another of Lumleys gutsy populist heroes. Jake has been delivered to the paranormal intelligence unit by the ghost of Harry Keogh, the original Necroscope, who foresees a future clash between Jake and a vampire trio wreaking havoc on Earth. Harrys discorporate consciousness takes up residence in Jakes mind, but Jake is totally ignorant of the vampire invaders from the alternate universe of Sunside/Starside and the long-running war that left Harry (and, by proxy, Jake) infected with their taint. This necessitates a lengthy and tedious history of events from the preceding novels, recounted to Jake by both mortals and monsters in multiple chapters of straight exposition. Granted, Lumleys characters are a lively bunch, but none tell the story as excitingly as he does, and the result is not unlike sitting down at the dinner table with a hearty appetite and hearing about a sumptuous banquet someone else attended. A climactic encounter with the vampire Nephran Malinari in his aerie in the Australian mountains gets the action roaring again by the storys finale, and with luck heralds the end of the laborious updates. (June)
Reviewed on: 05/31/1999
Release date: 06/01/1999
Genre: Fiction
Peanut Press/Palm Reader - 978-0-312-70231-1
Mass Market Paperbound - 544 pages - 978-0-8125-7552-1
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