SLOUCHING TOWARDS CAMULODUNUM
(And Other Stories)
By Micah S. Harris
Mino Profit Press
Micah Harris is one of the finest adventure fantasy writers working today. So we were thrilled when this little book popped up in the mail a few weeks ago. It contains three new tales of the fantastic by Mr. Harris and each of them is a well-crafted gem. One has to wonder, what with the lack of fiction magazines today, if any of these would have ever seen the light of day had it not been for the ease of self-publishing. We are daily grateful we live in such an age when writers of this talent can follow this path and effectively make their efforts available we eager readers.
In the first tale, from which the book takes its title, a company of occultists hunt an inhuman villainess attempting to open a portal to our world so as to allow her demonic sire to enter. Joining this stalwart group is the lovely Becky Sharp, a recurring character in Harris’ stories who has her own agenda. The woman they are chasing kidnapped her baby girl and Becky is determined to rescue her no matter what the cost. This story moves like a greyhound chasing a rabbit, from one marvelous scene to the next and even though many readers won’t recognize many of the classical references to these characters, it doesn’t dampen the enthusiasm in which Harris spins his story. The climax is sheer over-the-top pulp genius.
In “The Anti-Pope of Avignon,” Harris channels Robert E. Howard the Puritan travels to Avignon to put an end to threat posed by the beautiful Fausta, the bastard love child of the late Pope Alexander VI and Cesare Borgia. He has been hired by a community of French Hugenots who see her as a mortal enemy to their way of life. But the Puritan is captured and thrown in a dungeon where he uncovers the presence of an unholy spirit called the Horla. It is this demonic being that is the real villain and only his sword, wielded in holy righteousness, may save the day. Any fan of the Solomon Kane stories should feel right at home with this delightful yarn.
“May the Ground Not Consume Thee…” is the last of this triple treat. None other than Alexander Dumas’ Count of Monte Cristo comes to the aid of a tortured French maid whose vile and sadistic husband has made it impossible for her to see her own daughter. To resolve the woman’s plight, the Count plots an elaborate scheme which includes duping a cruel, ageless vampire into being his pawn. Once again Harris demonstrates his insane plotting genius.
In the end, it would impossible to pick which of these three pieces we enjoyed the most. All are equally well written, captivating and sheer reading treasures. For a little book, this one packs a wallop and we strongly urge you to seek it out. This is what good pulp writing is all about.