Review: The Necromancer’s House by Christopher Buehlman

edenskeeper November 4, 2013 0 Book Reviews


The Necromancer’s House by Christopher Buehlman

Those Across the River, a “beautifully written… Necromancer's Houseexceedingly clever” (Boston Herald) masterpiece of “genuine terror” (New York Times bestselling author F. Paul Wilson), was hailed by #1 New York Times bestselling author Charlaine Harris as “one of the best first novels I’ve ever read.” Now comes Christopher Buehlman’s new novel—one of uncommon horrors hiding behind the walls of the house next door…

“You think you got away with something, don’t you? But your time has run out. We know where you are. And we are coming.”
The man on the screen says this in Russian.
“Who are you?”
The man smiles, but it’s not a pleasant smile.
The image freezes.
The celluloid burns exactly where his mouth is, burns in the nearly flat U of his smile. His eyes burn, too.
The man fades, leaving the burning smiley face smoldering on the screen.
“Oh Christ,” Andrew says.
The television catches fire.

Andrew Ranulf Blankenship is a handsome, stylish nonconformist with wry wit, a classic Mustang, and a massive library. He is also a recovering alcoholic and a practicing warlock, able to speak with the dead through film. His house is a maze of sorcerous booby traps and escape tunnels, as yours might be if you were sitting on a treasury of Russian magic stolen from the Soviet Union thirty years ago. Andrew has long known that magic was a brutal game requiring blood sacrifice and a willingness to confront death, but his many years of peace and comfort have left him soft, more concerned with maintaining false youth than with seeing to his own defense. Now a monster straight from the pages of Russian folklore is coming for him, and frost and death are coming with her.

Deeply influenced by the dramatic styles of Russian literature as well as the fantastical story telling elements found in both Southern Gothic and Latin American literature, The Necromancer’s House is an ode to narcissism & the human condition.

Unconventional and highly stylized, Buehlman takes familiar elements and distorts them to view the world from the point of the absurd. This is a tale of magic and love told through the lens of surrealism – much like the Salvador Dali paintings the author references in the story.

In Buehlman’s world, wizards wage warfare fit for the modern age. Spells that cross the Internet; talking to the dead via video tape; mythical creatures updated to include casual sex & cigarettes; while, the classic, magic as a panacea for aging is still strongly in effect.

I greatly enjoyed this novel. The main story and the various sub stories were original and fantastic. The weakest part of the novel is the ending which seemed contrived in an effort to provide a HEA. I highly recommend The Necromancer’s House.

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