The Lovecraft Code
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• A professor of religion turns atheist after witnessing a massacre in Iraq, only to confront a darker possibility
• A high-ranking American intelligence officer authorizes a black op that no one understands, but on which the fate of nations depends
• An explosion of violence in the Middle East as warring sects seek the ultimate weapon of mass destruction
• And, at the center of the conflagration, a book that reveals the existence of an ancient cult bent on global extermination …
• … a book introduced to the world by a famous author of gothic horror. A book that is not supposed to exist.
Truth is so hard to tell, it sometimes needs fiction to make it plausible— Francis Bacon
Drawing on decades of experience, non-fiction author and historian Peter Levenda turns to the novel as the best and perhaps only way to tell a story that must be told.
Hidden within the tales of America’s most iconic writer of gothic horror, H.P. Lovecraft, runs a vein of actual terror. Gregory Angell, present day descendant of George Angell in Lovecraft’s “Call of Cthulhu,” is summoned by a nameless covert agency of the US Government to retrieve a sacred book from the grasp of an Islamist terror network operating out of northern Iraq, in the land of the Yezidi. Long believed to be devil worshippers, the Yezidi are all that’s left of an ancient cult that possessed the key to the origins of the human race … and of the conflict between that race and another, much more ancient, civilization from beyond the stars.
Angell’s quest takes him from the streets of Brooklyn to the deserts of the Middle East, to Central Asia, northern India and an island in the Pacific Ocean. The reader is taken on side trips to Nazi Germany, the laboratory of a South Florida necrophile, post-Katrina New Orleans, and to the origins of the modern science of archaeology in the late nineteenth century.
From The New York Journal of Books
Reviewed by: Toni V. Sweeney
“‘Lovecraft saw it coming . . . his stories weren’t fantasies . . . they were predictions . . .’”
In 1925 a New England writer named Howard Phillips Lovecraft meets Professor George Gammell Angell who tells him of a book containing unspeakable horror. Tormented by similar visions, Lovecraft steals the book from Angell.
In 1926 Professor Angell dies on a Providence ferry peer, killed by an agent of Himmler sent to obtain the information Lovecraft stole.
In 1928 The Call of Cthulu appears in print and Angell’s information is brought to the reading public’s eye. No one believes it’s anything but fiction. Though Angell’s great-nephew insists the story is real, both he and his great-uncle’s memory are besmirched as those of a crackpot and a fraud.
Lovecraft’s stories gain a small but faithful following but he’s by and large unknown to the general reading public. Movies make them into confusing horrors because they, like Poe’s tales, don’t convert easily to the screen.
The years pass . . .
In 2007 a New Orleans police officer discovers two bodies chained to a structure in the basement of a house devastated by Katrina where similar crimes were committed in 1907. There are odd drawings on the walls . . .
In 2014 a member of a secret government Remote Viewing team goes berserk, raving over a vision he receives. He escapes the facility and is never seen again . . . until he reappears in the Middle East in 2016. . . .
Tenured professor Gregory Angell and his family have spent their lives trying to suppress the scandal Lovecraft caused with his stories and his ancestor’s theories. When he’s not attending his classes, he hides in his apartment to forget what he witnessed while a civilian consultant in the Middle East, something he swears he’ll never do again.
Then he meets a man named Aubrey. Angell refuses to believe what Aubrey wants: to find The Necronomicon, the very thing causing the loss of his family’s academic reputation.
Before he knows it, Angell’s on his way on a black-ops mission, not only to find the book but to prevent it from being used to resurrect the dead god who lies dreaming. The things Angell previously witnessed are mere daydreams compared to what he’s about to discover, and he no longer has the option of refusing to believe any of it.
“‘The Necronomicon was a joke, a running literary gag . . . an invention . . . He knew these people weren’t lying, but they couldn’t be telling the truth . . . Lovecraft saw it coming . . . his stories weren’t fantasies . . . they were predictions.’”
In his search for the Necronomicon, Gregory Angell will discover the thread of truth running through the lives of everyone coming into contact with the dark tome:
“‘There are sacraments of good as well as evil . . . This is the worship of Death, and worse. There is no God . . . there is no devil . . . there is only us and them!’”
Gregory Angell is now a double-edged sword, the only man between the world and its complete subjugation by an evil more ancient than time itself. In a life-or-annihilation struggle with a force from beyond the stars, whatever he chooses will mean a terrible loss of life . Can he sacrifice hundred to save millions?
This is a novel that will have the Lovecraft fan as well as the Lovecraft scholar sitting on the edge of his seat, and the historians even moreso. There is enough name-dropping with backgrounds of actual people as well as tying-in of events to give it credibility, while the premise itself sends it soaring into the realms of the most far-fetched fantasy imaginable. It will be left up to the reader to determine whether this is a superlative dive into speculative fiction or a thinly veiled documentation of actual events.
The corroborative information supplied and locale changes revealing the various characters’ point-of-view add a fever-pitch to the intensity from the first page.
With a seamless mix of Indiana Jones meets Jack Ryan, and H. P. Lovecraft teamed with Tom Clancy, The Lovecraft Code is a don’t-stop-until-every-page-has-been-read story, filled with Lovecraft’s special brand of eldritch horror and the spy thriller’s hairbreadth escapes, victories, and defeats, well-blended by author Levenda.
Whatever the reader determines, he should keep in mind these thoughts from one of the protagonists:
“‘Why didn’t we pay attention? Our artists, our writers, our musicians see farther than we do. The rest of us just play catch-up. And now it may be too late.’”
The Lovecraft Code will linger on the edge of the imagination long after the novel itself has been finished.
Toni V. Sweeney is the author of The Adventures of Sinbad and The Kan Ingan Archives series and also writes under the pseudonym Icy Snow Blackstone.