Thursday, 11 January 2018

Pharos The Egyptian.

Really enjoyed The Beetle by Richard Marsh and yet I could not shake the feeling after completing it that I had somehow read it before or else something incredibly like  The themes, the atmosphere, the sheer Victorianna and sense of upright daring-do, all terribly familiar. It was as though an ancient Egyptian scarab beetle were fluttering about my head trying to remind me of a life lived before..No, thats too strong. I just felt i had read something a long time ago that felt it may have sprang from the same pen. So I went looking in the old book room and before too long I found the very thing; Pharos The Egyptian by Guy Boothby.
               I read this book way back in the eighties. While I was staying in a house in Portumna, Galway. I found it among a pile of books by Walter Machen and old school books. It is a Victorian supernatural mystery, off course, about a long lived and wickedly cruel Egyptian called Pharos who is actually a mage from ancient times surviving using lost magics of that era. As i suggested, it feels as though it may have slipped from the same pen but is in fact a great wee novel in its own right. Utterly of its time and completely entertaining for that very reason. It also has a few pulp themed illustrations which add to its beguiling quality of swarthy supernaturalism. Guy Boothby was a best selling and hugely prolific writer in his day. His most infamous creation being the criminal occult mastermind Doctor Nikola who sought to create a potion that would lead not only to immortality but could also reanimate the dead. He was hell bent on ruling the world although I think he never quite considered the massive headache and stress bucket such a goal would become if Successful. Guy Boothby died a young man, only thirty eight when he was carried away by pneumonia, dying at his home. Sad.
              Dust off your smoking jacket, check out your study windows are bolted shut against the howling wind and rain outside, throw another log on the fire, uncork a nice Merlot, put your feet up and prepare to be to speak.