Review: City of Sorcerers, David Hambling, 2022.
Back in about 1000 BC, Cthulhu snatched a bunch of women from various points in the future, human wombs to be used by the Spawn. Those are octopoid beings liked to Cthulhu and serving his ends or, perhaps, merely another form of that mysterious being. But those women escaped the Spawn, built a Wintertown, and defeated the Spawn with an alliance of nomads, townsmen from Stone, and the fearsome Sorcerers in the Last Battle.
This is the middle of a trilogy, the Age of Monsters. The typical problem with coming cold to the middle book of a series is that it’s hard to get oriented and, when the work is done and the book is finished, the story doesn’t often seem complete.
Hambling evades this by having his presenter, one William Blake (a character to be found not only in the trilogy but The Dulwich Horror and Others too) summarizes the previous volume, War of the God Queen, in his introduction and gives a cast of characters. At the end of this novel, all the main conflicts are wrapped up (ok, not all of them) in ways which nicely violate expectations.
Whereas Blake got his narrative for War of the God Queen from cuneiform tablets with English text left in a cave and discovered by would-be treasure hunters, this story comes from the evidence of “fringe archaeology” and automatic writing via a medium. That allows Hambling to go from the first person narration of Jessica Morton in the first book to the wider vista of multiple characters.Continue reading