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The Scroll of Thoth
Richard L. Tierney
Chaosium Inc., 369 pages

A review by Wayne MacLaurin

A recent addition (September 1997) addition to Chaosium's growing collection of Cthulhu fiction, Scroll of Thoth is a selection of twelve of Richard L. Tierney's works dealing with Simon Magus.

A great figure in Western occult tradition, Simon Magus is mentioned in The Bible and is often referred to as the sorcerous opponent of Peter. Fictional accounts of Simon and his exploits have appeared in countless forms including that as one of the formative influences of the main character in the latest movie version of The Saint.

Series Editor, Robert M. Price, has selected twelve of the best examples of Tierney's interpretation of Simon as a Samaritan ex-gladiator who's sorcerous abilities allow him to survive countless encounters with evil priests, emperors and, of course, hideous creatures from the Cthulhu mythos. Price has put together the tales in a mostly chronological order that follows Simon from his start as a gladiator in one of Rome's many arenas through his rise in power and conflict with Rome and the evil that seeks to consume mankind. Simon's quest for his true love Helen plays an instrumental part in tales and it is that quest that drives Simon.

The collection includes several obviously Lovercraftian-inspired works such as "The See of the Star-God" and "The Scroll of Thoth" but others show influences of other genres. "The Blade of the Slayer" is more of a tribute to Karl Edward Wagner's Kane novels and, in fact, Simon meets a character that is much closer to Wagner's Kane than to any biblical interpretation. "The Soul of Kephri" has Simon defeat his evil opponent with the help of the lost sword of a great Aquilonian king!

But, Tierney certainly isn't the only one worthy of praise in this collection. Robert M. Price does an absolutely fabulous job of narrating the spaces "between" the stories. In fact, some times its pretty obvious that Price has spent far more time researching the subtleties of the stories than Tierney probably ever considered. Price's work creates a feel of continuity between the stories and provides the reader with a wealth of background material that is every bit enjoyable as the stories themselves.

Chaosium is doing a fine job at building a great library of fiction and Scroll of Thoth is a worthy addition.

Copyright © 1998 by Wayne MacLaurin

Wayne MacLaurin is a regular SF Site reviewer. More of his opinions are available on our Book Reviews pages.

The Scroll of Thoth
Richard L. Tierney
Richard L. Tierney is probably best known for his heroic fantasy and his Red Sonja novels co-written with David C. Smith. He is the author of The House of the Toad (1993) published by Fedogan and Bremer. However, in terms of the Cthulhu mythos, Tierney is known for his essay, The Derleth Mythos, in which he made the clear distinction between August Derelth's "Good vs Evil" framework and Lovecraft's much more nihilistic viewpoint.

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Chaosium, Inc.

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