BOOKS: The NecroScope, a New Breed of Vampire by Brian Lumley
NecroScope, was seminal and reads like No Other in the series
Lumley is prolific
I discovered Lumley in the late 80's
I think I found where "they" got the idea for the movie "The Sixth Sense", you remember... that boy who said " I see dead people"... I think it came from THIS novel. Necroscope, written by Brian Lumley.
When I refer to his "Vampire Series" I am referring to, primarily the first five books of the Necroscope series: Necroscope, Wamphyri, The Source, Deadspeak, and Deadspawn. Lumley's writing, in all truth, is simply Massive, most mortals.will be hard-pressed to read all of any single series he has written.
Then, after the first five vampire books, there are something like TEN MORE Novels that CONTINUE the "Vampire" series alone! And, Lumley has many many other books within the genre of horror / thriller. I will include a few extra book covers at the very end of this article to give you an idea. He is an extremely prolific horror writer.
I served for a brief time in the U.S. Infantry. I was fortunate enough to serve in peacetime. In fact, I happened to have a release-date that was February 14th, of 1989, and on the 25th of that same February U.S. tanks were rolling into Iraq. I was almost a part of Desert Storm.
During my time in the service I had read some of Anne Rice's Books, and as you probably know, she has also "specialized" in Vampires. In fact, when she initially wrote Lestat, she had envisioned a movie where Rutger Hauer was to play the Title Role. Imagine my own shock when Tom Cruise ended up doing it. Anne had hoped for a Blond-Haired and Blue-Eyed creature.
Yet, ...the most massive series I'd ever read was Brian Lumley's. Not only is his universe an entire library all by itself. But each one of his books is simply humongous, each one is hundreds of pages. Easily twice the size of your average fictional tome. Each paperback is about an inch and a half, or two-inches thick. Simply massive books.
Below, you see Brian Lumley himself, at a book signing, where he is reading from the fith book of the vampire series, and he starts at the beginning, which is where book IV leaves off.... And, you get a sample of how this writer is voicing his own material. Immediately, the story commences with our main Hero, Harry Keogh, and the book also begins covering Harry's son's (who have some of his talents). One of his sons is referred to as "The Dweller", in vampire terms... Lumley has created a very elaborate, and internally consistent universe here. So, check out this story, done in the authors own voice.
Here, is Brian Lumley doing a reading from Book V "DeadSpawn"
This is a link to Brian Lumley.com - his website for NecroScope
- Brian Lumley.com Necroscope Series
The Necroscope Series by Brian Lumley on Brian Lumley.com
And THIS... is another book, from his Non-Vampiric work
But, the first book- NecroScope - stands apart. Very much so.
The very first book of his Vampire Series, "Necroscope", does have an entirely different "feel" than all the following ones of the series. As he wrote the trilogy, you do see the "development" of the basics of the "Vampiric World". Then, when it went beyond that to five novels, you saw how it "evolved" further.
By the time it gets to Blood Brothers, Blood Wars, and The Last Aerie... Lumley has "given up" and simply turned on a manufacturing machine of vampiric novels, in a continuously expanding "Vampire Universe". It was a Lumley Big-Bang, if you will...
If you happen to have the fortitude to be able to get through this massive (Lumley) vampire library, you will indeed see that the original and seminal book of this Lumley-universe, is a bit different from all others.
It is my strongest belief, that the story was entirely designed to stand alone. Was a singular effort. And Lumley did not truly expect it to continue. This novel, "NecroScope", in my opinion was an EXCEPTIONAL effort, on the writers part. I do not believe that this first vampire novel, was any rushed piece. It was, in all likelihood, a "Master Story" locked in his mind a long LONG time, and then, written with much care. As time passed, his speed went up on the other books, and were "cranked out". Still, giving them much thought, but... as I imply here, I do completely believe "The NecroScope" was special. It has an entirely differing "feel" to it, which you will see in retrospect, after reading his others.
The "hero" of the story even dies a horrid death in the end. As in ... "DEAD".
I am assuming that upon the novels success, and subsequent contractual offers, Lumley "found a way" to resurrect the hero (Harry Keogh) and then continue the story. In all honesty, that is my most sincere assessment. I don't even CARE what the public version of the story is. (Why don't I care?) Because I am still exhausted from my reading of the series, and I don't "haunt" Lumley's sites nor any of the fansites at all. My assessment is my own, entirely. And I am simply writing about it here.
I have read his series at least twice, and many of the books three times. And that's quite enough for me. I am simply impressed with the product. It's a universe that IS so huge, by the time you re-read it, you have kind of forgotten what came before. You do of course, remember the gist of it, but I did, read it a couple of times before making this assessment. And I KNOW, without doubt, the book "NecroScope", stands alone. You will see.
But the ORIGINAL book? ... THAT is truly the gem. it is. And you will see why after you read some of his series. I personally did read his psychomech series as well.
He's an original artist. He's good, and that's good enough for me. I enjoyed it immensely.
Lumley's work (listed below) is truly a TOWERING accomplishment.
- Brian Lumley - Wikipedia
Lumley, has an absolutely MASSIVE tower of work he has created. Here, you will find the listing as hosted by Wikipedia. Lumley, is truly a major and influential writer of the genre. He has not written 1 or 3 novels and moved on...
Brian Lumley - The Necroscope and Vampire World series
Why do I say "New Breed"?
Well, your classic vampire achieves his or her status through the bite of a parental vampire. And, usually the "magic" of the vampire simply transfers through the blood. For instance, Anne Rice's beasts have a bit of an original "Spirit" that is inherited from the vampire-originators, the "parents" of all vampires on Earth, (a pair of ancient Egyptians, who are the "Mother and Father", see: "Queen of The Damned"). These original parents are possessed by a blood-hungry non-corporeal creature. As time passes, the 'spirit' of this spirit becomes more and more dilute within the subsequent generations of vampire "children". There are two ways a vampire grows stronger in Anne Rice's world. They can simply AGE... age allows a vampire to slowly strengthen both psychically and physically. Or, a vampire may "strengthen" themselves in an 'ultimate' fashion by consuming the blood of other vampires. The act of consuming mortals blood is merely common sustenance and self-preservation. But, consuming the "spirit" from other vampires raises a blood-sucker, to a higher level of vampirism quickly... in Anne Rice's world.
In Lumley's Universe...
In Lumley's vampire world, it is a bit more animalistic. A bit more visceral.
This is a new breed of vampire from the classic one we all grew up with in the 20th century.
The tendency is, to see Lumley's vampirism as a type of "infection", an impregnation or even parasitism. It actually is highly contageous in nearly ANY form. In most cases, there is a definite and direct physical 'contamination' of some sort, leading to the fullest transformation.
But make NO MISTAKE, "vampirism" in Lumley's world is highly highly contagious. In fact, in the original novel, "NecroScope", the primary (physical) protagonist, Boris Dragosani, is first, "infected" only psychically. He is first, drawn inexorably towards a darkness and strength of an old old vampire... named Thibor Ferenczy. Ferenczy is an ancient vampire, and was "put down" long long ago, he is bound down and buried in the mountains of Romania, trapped between death and life, bound by Earth, and Silver...
It begins, simply, with a "feeling", and faint words, hissing through Dragosani's mind. Soon enough, Dragosani seeks more. He wants more. He is a willing disciple of the ancient evil...
But, Lumley's vampires are not quite as "Baroque" as Anne Rice's 'classic' vampires ... in most cases. Lumley conveys more a sense of the hungry animal in his styles. Definitely a beast to contend with.
He even uses the language differently, calling them Wamphyri, or Vamphyri. The ultimate form of the Wamphyr, are as a parasitically hosted body. The two creatures become one. And the host, becomes capable of amazing physical and psychic feats. This includes the famous vampire "shape-shifting". Yes, Lumley's vampires may "fly". Most of them, at least glide. An "average" vampire can flatten and stretch it's flesh, so that it may glide DOWN, from a perch. Advanced or mature forms may entirely assume shape and structure of other animals, and take to wing...
Trust me, Lumley does it differently than Bram Stoker. And, in much more detail.
Where possible I try to locate original cover art
The original artwork
Even the original artwork, for the paperback version of Necroscope, it was so entirely striking for this series! In fact, with the original paperback versions, there was an INTERIOR page of artwork.
It was a depiction of Harry Keogh's un-dead mother rising from a riverbed... (in the first novel)
Does that sound gruesome? Does it sound like a story spoiler for you? Well... it is NOT! The original novel holds an entirely unique approach. Much detail. And is thoroughly enjoyable. In fact, I will even go so far as to say...
You remember the movie "Sixth Sense"? The boy would could "See Dead People"? I actually have the feeling that the person who wrote that screenplay, read THIS novel first. It's Sixth sense, with "dead" people, "undead" people, and ... Vampire people. Or, perhaps I should say, Vamphyr-people.
See the subtitle of THIS one?
Harry Keogh - loses the ability to speak to the dead
To regain his psychic power of DeadSpeak, Harry made a Deal...
Harry, was desperate.
In the previous story, Harry made a Bargain with The Original Vampire of this series... Thibor Ferenczy. You see, the dead tend to avoid vampires. They tend to not wish to "speak" to evil. Harry Keogh is referred to as "A Light" to the dead. Harry, was a NecroScope, not a necromancer...
Necromancy is a dark art. An art Thibor Ferenczy practiced, and had taught Dragosani... And Now, Harry Keogh has turned to this evil creature for "help" in regaining the ability to speak to the dead.
And now, he unfortunately carries a vampire "seed" as his part of the deal... Harry must fight the blooming strength of the vampire growing within him.
And now, realize, that- the vampire that Harry Keogh is becoming, will have ALL of the powers and talents which gave Harry the very ability to fight the vampires in the first place. In other words, his strengths are now possibly mankind's undoing. Harry, himself is fast becoming the next greatest threat to mankind.
The only solution is if Harry... "removes" himself entirely.
Harry's time on Earth, is now limited. But, until he loses this battle of wills within himself, the Necroscope STILL has work to do...
This Vampire Saga continues in the "Vampire World" trilogy
This trilogy is comprised of the (again, very large) novels: "Blood Brothers" then "The Last Aerie", and finally, "BloodWars".
The primary characters in these novels are Harry Keogh's twin sons, who have inherited Harry's arcane abilities.
Lumley, brings a new kind of gritty reality to a vampire series. His real life and "crunchy" style is that of a man who has been around a bit. I suggest you start with Necroscope and see what happens.
The original five of the series, overall, do have their very own "flavor". Then, as Lumley progressed the series continued to expand until you have the many tomes of today. At one point during the "Vampire World" trilogy it became a bit boring and wearisome for me. Then, in one of those novels a new "fire" lept from the pages. I simply had to keep marching through Lumley's unverse like a soldier to actually complete the task of the drier sections.
Not everyone will be able to read his entire series.
It's simply too massive, for most mortals. But Lumley, truly has something different here.