The Book of Yig: Revelations of the Serpent: A Cthulhu Mythos Anthology by Various Book Review

Write on: Thu, 15 Apr 2021 by  in Charles' Reviews Read 1191


The works of H.P. Lovecraft are notable for the fact that, for all his own accomplishments, he was a very early proponent of open source intellectual property. He encouraged other authors to share his creatures and concepts while doing the same with their stuff. Robert Bloch (Psycho) and Robert E. Howard worked with him on multiple projects. Combined with the work of being like August Derleth and Chaosium, HPL's work continued to the modern day where new authors can play in his sandbox.

The Yig are a somewhat more obscure of Lovecraft's creations, being from his co-authorship with Zealia Bishop in "The Curse of Yig." In simple terms, they are serpent men who worship the Great Old One Yig and primarily dwell in the present-day United States. THE BOOK OF YIG follows in rough chronological order from the early 1920s to the present day with each short story having a slight connection to the previous one.

I've repeatedly stated my enjoyment for author David Hambling's Harry Stubbs books and also have enjoyed the Indiana Jones homage of the Andrew Doran series by Matthew Davenport, so I was very interested in this book since it has stories from both series. Those unfamiliar with them should check both out as they are Pulpy adventure stories where the protagonists act like Mythos Investigators from the Call of Cthulhu game to fight the creatures that defy rationale thinking.

"The Snake in the Garden" is a Harry Stubbs adventure that follows the protagonist as he investigates a murder of a man that had a gun trained on his attacker the entire time. This introduces the Yig and their mysterious culture quite well. As usual, David Hambling tries to tie Lovecraft's mythology to real world occultism with references to RL stories of snake deities as well as various period appropriate authors. I really liked this story and almost wish it was a full-fledged Harry Stubbs novel.

"Andrew Doran and the Journey to the Serpent Temple" has one major mistake. It should be "Andrew Doran and the Serpent Temple." The Journey is totally unnecessary! Otherwise, this was a fantastic story and easily the best of the Andrew Doran novels. It contains twists, turns, and a truly memorable ending. The fact that Andrew actually goes to some exotic locales and explores ancient ruins makes its the most Indiana Jones of the characters' adventures. My only regret, aside from the extra two words in the title, was Andrew not getting with his disguised serpent woman partner. Tsk-tsk. Indy would have.

"Still Life With Death" by Mark Howard Jones is the most traditionally Lovecraft of the stories involved. A man is undergoing occult transformations between man and snake. I think the people involved sort of underreact to this sort of development but the ending was extremely memorable. The use of art and a link to the unnatural is something that particularly fits Howard Phillips' world. I think horror fans will particularly like this story.

"Revelations" is a story set post-WW2 and deals with the Yig, Nazis, Nazi Hunters, and other things. I mostly knew Peter Rawlik from his entertaining Reanimators novel but this made me want to check out his other series. It stars the son of "The Shadow out of Time"'s protagonist who has become a somewhat terrifying agent for the US government. Lots of links to modern zoology and cryptids.

Finally, it ends with a coda by David Hambling that nicely wraps things up. Overall, I'm very impressed with these books and while I liked the Hambling and Davenport stories most, I think this was a great installment into modern Lovecraftian anthologies overall. I wish I'd been involved.

Available here

Last modified on Friday, 16 April 2021 15:51
C.T. Phipps

C.T Phipps is a lifelong student of horror, science fiction, and fantasy. An avid tabletop gamer, he discovered this passion led him to write and turned him into a lifelong geek. He is a regular blogger on "The United Federation of Charles".

He's written Agent G, Cthulhu Armageddon, Lucifer's Star, and The Supervillainy Saga.