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Home > Books & Reviews > Pagan > Necronomicon Search

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Book Review:
Necronomicon: The Wanderings Of Alhazred

Author: Donald Tyson
Trade Paperback, 269 pages
Publisher: Llewellyn
Publication date: 2004
List: US$17.95, C$24.50
ISBN: 0738706272
Price & More Info: Click Here

Who among us in the magickal community has not heard of, and laughed about, this book over the years? It is a book which has never existed, although some paid extravagant prices for leather-bound copies of at least one of the "translations" offered for sale over the past few decades.

The original idea for this book blossomed in the mind of H. P. Lovecraft. He quoted it as a source in some of his stories. Since the mentions first appeared in print, people have striven to locate copies of it, even though Lovecraft himself claimed it was an invented work.

Tyson offers his take on this classic work. He brings to this task a background of magickal training and an understanding of the macabre which unite to bring this work to life. Is this the "true" Necronomicon? Of course it isn't. We all know the Necronomicon doesn't exist (nudge, nudge, wink, wink). It does, however, capture a Lovecraftian flavor and tone. The information contained within these dark covers will not sit well with the "white lighters" out there, but it isn't meant to.

There are, so far as I can tell, zero resemblances between this book and that edited by "Simon" and published during the late '70s and early '80s. This book contains only a few invocations, no ceremonies, and minimal illustrations. It is, for all of that, an exceptional book.

It is difficult to classify this book. The publisher puts it under "Occult;" but its inspiration is fiction; its sources mythology and history; its general tone, for lack of a better word, "religious."

If you want the "real" Necronomicon, I'm afraid you must communicate (beyond the veil) with H. P. Lovecraft. If you want spells and rituals, there are purported versions of them available, but not within these covers.

If you wish to understand the foundations upon which Lovecraft built his concept of the Necronomicon, you will find that here. Is it certain that he knew all of this data? No. It is likely that Mr. Tyson has expanded the base of Lovecraft's knowledge. I feel it has been faithful to the "tone" of the intention of Lovecraft's work. It tells the story of the wanderings of the "author" of the Necronomicon; what he experienced. Overall, it is an excellent book, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Reviewed by Mike Gleason

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