Tyson sets about “expositing the ways of the dead.”
The Necronomicon is, of course, that eldritch but mythical work of Cthulhu lore often referred to throughout the creepy and gurgling pages of H.P. Lovecraft, the purple pen of Providence, Rhode Island. Here, his skin-crawling nonexistent tome is lifted from the mists of fantasy and loathsomely fleshed out by Tyson, famed dealer in magic and spells and scribe of much nonfiction on magic and the occult (The Power of the Word: The Secret Code of Creation, not reviewed). Long centuries ago, as a youth in Yemen and student of necromancy, Abdul Alhazred sets out to find the arcane wisdom of the ages. He travels through Arabia deserta to the lost city of Irem and hence to Babylon and other unnatural cities that housed the monstrous Old Ones (who will break through again, shapes without substance), and at last to Damascus as he gathers forbidden knowledge for a grisly grimoire of the dead filled with the very lispings of Yog-Sothoth. Cousins to Great Cthulhu, the Old Ones still walk among us, unseen and foul in the lonely places. Their hand is at your throat. Cthulhu himself, man-shaped, bat-winged, and as big as a mountain, flies between the stars, the formless mass of his face hung with many ropes or soft branches and throbbing with a watery softness—for he has no skull. When the stars fix aright, he will rise in fury, and no gods or men will be able to withstand his force. (NB: One needs the essential salts and a large copper kettle, stirred with a long wooden ladle, when corpses of royal blood or wizards are boiled for resurrection.)
Scholarly horror, marvelously illustrated. Or as Lovecraft, in a wild ecstasy that’s quoted here, would praise it: Ph’nglui nigliv’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeb wgab’nagl fhtagn. Id!