Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Imprisoned by the Pharaohs

Imprisoned by the Pharaohs and Other Stories
By HP Lovecraft
Narrated by Staten Elliot and Gareth David-Lloyd

This is another early Audible grab for me when I was playing around with podcast promo codes and discovering audio books a couple years back. Like The Call of Cthulhu, I picked this one up mainly because Gareth David-Lloyd narrates one of the stories and I tend to be an obsessive fanboy, but I did enjoy the audio book on its own merits.

Like The Call of Cthulhu, this audio book contains three stories. The first story is called Imprisoned with the Pharoahs and it’s narrated by Staten Elliot. I really liked this story. It’s probably my favourite of the bunch. It’s about a magician tourist whose boasting and arrogant sense of adventure get the better of him when he vacations in Egypt and realizes that the old magic has not yet died. It’s great look into how folks of Lovecraft’s time sort of both thought themselves above and revered the ancient secrets of Egypt and it’s delightfully creepy.

The second story The Nameless City is narrated by Gareth David-Lloyd and I don’t think I’ll ever have anything negative to say about his performances. His voice work on this story is really well done. I don’t think that this story has the same kind of chilling eeriness that the Call of Cthulhu, or even Imprisoned with the Pharaohs, has, but it is still an interesting horror story that outlines a history before history which gives power to the Egyptian mythos and is well worth a listen.

The third story, The Alchemist, narrated once more by Staten Elliot is a story I really enjoyed. It has taken me a while to really sink my teeth into it because it is unlike the other two stories and seems a little bit out of place. It’s more like a Poe story, all cursed legacies and grim halls, but with the fantastical flavour that Lovecraft excels at. It’s a brilliant story, of course, but it’s a bit jarring because it isn’t really an Egypt tale like the other two.

All in all, a good buy. It doesn’t absolutely blow my mind, but it’s an audio book that I have listened to more than once, so it’s worth having. If you like H.P. Lovecraft, horror stories, Egyptian myth, or either of the narrators’ voice work, I’d definitely recommend it. I suggest finding a preview or demo on Audible or iTunes or somewhere if you’re thinking about this one.

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