cover image Winter Tide

Winter Tide

Ruthanna Emrys., $25.99 (368p) ISBN 978-0-7653-9090-5

Marbled with references to the fiction of H.P. Lovecraft, this inventive dark fantasy crossbreeds the cosmic horrors of the Cthulhu mythos with the espionage escapades of a Cold War thriller. It’s 1948, and Aphra and Caleb Marsh, descendents of the amphibious Innsmouth folk imprisoned in the aftermath of Lovecraft’s “The Shadow Over Innsmouth,” are tapped by FBI agent Ron Spector to study Innsmouth artifacts now stored at the Miskatonic University library in Arkham, Mass. Spector hopes to determine whether prying Russian agents may have learned the secret of magically forcing their minds into the bodies of American politicians and scientists. Emrys elevates her story above traditional tales of Cold War paranoia by making Aphra’s reacquaintance with Innsmouth culture her introduction to a personal heritage that she had been blocked from accessing. Emrys’s characters are more openly comfortable with the supernatural than Lovecraft’s horror-struck mortals, and her sensitive comparisons of Aphra’s experience to those of other confined and displaced peoples make the novel historically relevant and resonant. (Apr.)