Title: The Necromancer's House
Author: Christopher Buehlman
Length: 410 pages
Publisher: Ace Hard Cover
Buy Links: Amazon B&N
Rating: 4 Stars
Those Across the River, a “beautifully written…exceedingly 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. -Goodreads
Christopher Buehlman's The Necromancer's House, is what can only be described as a trip into the strange and magically unexpected.
Though there are some rather creepy aspects to this story (the Rusalka) and (Salvador, dog turned glorified house boy) for the most part, this book is more about the interpersonal relationships that Andrew, who happens to be a necromancer, shares with his rather unorthodox social circle and the people who are trying to kill him.
This is a story that is awash with detail. So much so...in fact, that one is often sidetracked from the course of the story. If you are a reader who doesn't mind little forays off the story road to look at the shiny little specifics...you will love this book. If however, you are a reader who likes things a little less "round about", this book will be leaving pretty designs on your wall when you throw it.
That being said, let's get back to the good stuff. The off kilter dark humor and snarky comments and banter the characters engage in often serves to lighten the mood of some very dark moments. The author should also be very proud of the fact that he pulled no punches when it came to outlandish moments of magical purpose.
The Necromancer's House reads like a magical suspense thriller with a little of Chuck Palahniuk thrown in for good measure. At 400+ pages, and over 100+ mercifully short chapters, this tale does often leave the reader wondering if there is an end in sight, but the journey is well worth the sometimes bumpy, but always original ride. This may not be a book for everyone...but it just might be the book for you.
Christopher Buehlman is a writer and performer based in St. Petersburg, Florida. He is the winner of the 2007 Bridport Prize in Poetry and a finalist for the 2008 Forward Prize for best poem (UK). He spent his twenties and thirties touring renaissance festivals with his very popular show Christophe the Insultor, Verbal Mercenary. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in French Language from Florida State University, where he minored in History. He enjoys theater, independent films, chess, archery, running, cooking with lots of garlic, and thick, inky, bone-dry red wines with sediment at the bottom.