There is something in the shadows…
There, in the corner of the glass… Perhaps it’s just an imperfection, the mirror is old and neglected… But you know that it’s not an imperfection. There is something, there, moving with purpose. Something that wants something… And what might that something be?
There is something in the Bayeaux around New Orleans… Something tragic. Something evil. There is a reason why a man hardened in the school of the alley and the life-preserver cannot think of the heads in Blenheim Castle without shuddering, and a horrible reason for what some would call a dire revenge. There is an exhibit in a museum that, to a trained mind, radiates fear… betrayal… bewilderment. There is something moving in the darkness in the mirror.
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Oct 15, 2009
"Old Mythos, New Mythos" "Darkness in the Mirror" is properly considered a sequel to Rice's "Archival: Most Secret", but stands on its own equally well thanks to Rice's consistent attention to details. Building on the author's "Ministry Mythos", this compilation of three apparently disparate tales pulls the reader deeper into a fascinating mix of Real Science, Mad Science, Voudoun, and even Cthulhoid considerations of things best left unplumbed. While, at points, touching somewhat indirectly on the works of H.P. Lovecraft, Rice's Mythos instead travels different paths. At one point, for example, Rice ties the real-world worship of the ancient Epona Cult to the equally historical slaughter of a Roman Legion, by way of telling us how this all ends up affecting the rivalries of competing archival researchers at Miskatonic University. In all frankness, that particular tale --- the third in the book --- is the weakest of the three, drawing most of... More > its substance from Lovecraft. Where Rice truly shines is in the first two tales, which follow up to an extent on the stories told in "Archival". The first, embedded deeply in the swamps, history, and personalities of the Louisiana bayous, sheds more light on the interrelations and differences between creatures of Voudoun and the Fae, and how even the most upright and proper sort of mortal individual can be considered to have somehow transgressed against them. Personally, I found the second of the trio to be the most compelling: we are re-introduced to Dr. Buzzard, who staves off impending madness by telling of how he and Lord Randolph Churchill --- as well as darker sorts --- first crossed paths. Manipulations abound, as do layers on layers of plotting and their related skulkings about, in delightfully Sherlockian fashion that fans of the late great Sir Doyle will doubtlessly find to their liking. All in all, between "Archival" and "Darkness" Rice establishes for himself a new Mythos developed in a fashion compatible with those of older bent. With plenty of his own originality in clear dominance, I look forward to seeing what dishes will be served us upon Mr. Rice's next literary platter.< Less
"Better Than The Original" With books, as with motion pictures, it is rare to encounter a sequel that meets or exceeds the qualities of the original. In this reviewer’s opinion, Rob Rice’s “Darkness In The Mirror”, his wonderfully entertaining sequel to “Archival: Most Secret”, does exactly that. Once again, the author combines authentic historical settings and language, and plot lines worthy (and reminiscent) of Conan Doyle, with fantastical creatures to create short stories quite unlike any you’ve ever read. Imaginative doesn’t begin to describe these tales! Where “Darkness” overtakes its predecessor is in development of the characters, real and fictional. All come across as believable, multi-faceted human beings. While reading this book, I was often overcome by two temptations: Firstly, to crank up the computer and “google” a character to find out whether he or she was a historical figure or one of Rice’s creations. Secondly, to race through to the story‘s conclusion. I... More > would encourage the reader to indulge the first but resist the second. Read it slowly, savor the settings, the language, and the flashes of historical insight. All are most carefully crafted, and make “Darkness” a most enjoyable read. Buy it, read it, and you’ll never think about those shadows that dart at the corners of your vision quite the same way again.< Less
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