cover image After the End of the World

After the End of the World

Jonathan L. Howard. St. Martin’s/Dunne, $26.99 (368p) ISBN 978-1-250-06090-7

Howard’s richly complex sequel to Carter & Lovecraft—featuring bookseller Emily Lovecraft and detective Daniel Carter—begins with a 1941 nuclear explosion over Moscow, engineered by the Nazis. That blast catapulted the world into an “Unfolded” alternate reality in which Germany won a different World War II. In Unfolded 2017, the Nazis still dominate much of the world. Daniel and Emily both cling to their memories of the Folded World (aka our reality). When Daniel is hired to investigate an experiment in high-energy physics being conducted by a mostly German research team at Miskatonic University in Arkham, he brings in Emily, and the two eventually follow the project to an Aleutian Islands outpost, where they become entangled in a byzantine web of espionage and counter-espionage linked to the earthshaking events of 1941. Howard doesn’t shy away from touchy topics: Emily is the African-American descendant of racist white horror writer H.P. Lovecraft, and the book has plenty of subtle and unsubtle references to modern politics (“Making Germany great again”) and 21st-century Nazism. This is an entertaining and meticulously crafted mix of speculative history, suspense, sardonic humor, and cosmic horror. Agent: Melissa Chinchillo, Fletcher & Company. (Nov.)