Introducing a new hero to the world of weird fiction, a big welcome to Harry Stubbs. In the London of 1924 former professional boxer Stubbs is working for the law firm of Latham and Rowe of South Norwood. On behalf of the creditors to the estate of the late Sir Ernest Shackleton, Stubbs is on the trail of information relating to hints of a hidden treasure discovered on the Antarctic explorer’s epic Endurance expedition.
The explorer’s disgraced brother sets Stubbs on the trail of the obsessive Shackleton collector Harcourt and it soon becomes apparent that the hidden treasure that Shackleton discovered is something more desirable than gold, as it turns out that it wasn’t Arkham’s Miskatonic University that first discovered what lay beyond the icy continent’s Mountains of Madness.
Hambling’s delightful novella successfully merges the creeping horror of HP Lovecraft’s Cthulhu mythos with the down to Earth world of South East London’s pubs and boxing clubs. In Stubbs, he has created a refreshingly different hero from the gentleman detectives and scientists that you would normally expect to find in this kind of literary pastiche and the naivety of the former soldier and pugilist as he stumbles into a world so beyond the bounds of his worst imagination is as engaging as his practical solutions.
A gorgeously different take on Lovecraft’s cosmic horror and packed with hidden gems for the discerning fan I give The Elder Ice a big 666/666 and I will certainly be coming back to read more of Harry’s adventures
The Elder Ice and other books in the Harry Stubbs series are available as paperbacks and e-books from David Hambling’s Amazon page here. He also has an anthology of related stories, The Dulwich Horror & Others, published by PS with a foreword by ST Joshi .