Necroscope: The Touch
by Brian Lumley
Review by Drew Bittner
Tor Books Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 0765316099
Date: 13 June, 2006 List Price $25.95 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /
When a trio of alien horrors--capable of killing with a single touch--set their murderous sights on Earth, there's only one man who can lead the fight against them.
That man, Harry Keogh, is dead.
However, a remnant of his power lives on in Scott St. John, an unassuming fellow thrust into a world of madness and savagery-- for which his comfortable, middle class British upbringing has left him woefully unprepared. He is the new Necroscope, inheritor of Harry's powers, and unless he can master them in short order, the Earth is doomed.
Such is the premise of Necroscope: The Touch, the latest in Brian Lumley's Necroscope series. Lumley casts a shard of Keogh into a new character, exploring a new dimension of these deathless abilities facing off with a terrifying new foe.
Harry's old colleagues in E-Branch do their best to help Scott acclimate to his new powers, but Harry was always a giant to them; they don't understand enough to help him very much, leaving Scott largely to his own devices. That isn't good, as the Shing't (the name of the alien invaders' race) arrive on Earth after destroying their own solar system. Faced with that much power, the defenders of E-Branch come to suspect that only the power of God Himself can save Earth this time.
Does this splinter of Harry Keogh have that much power?
As the aliens launch their offensive and E-Branch is thrown for loss after loss, trying to buy time for Scott (who proves determined but lacking in skill, at first) to learn what he needs to know. There are mentors aplenty for a Necroscope, as readers of the series know well, but the learning curve is a real monster.
The aliens have an intriguing plan: calling out God to see if He is willing to protect his creation. Scott's dead wife manifests to help her husband deal with this threat, even going so far as to countenance his liaisons with an alien female, before events speed toward a terrible showdown between the neophyte Necroscope and his enemies.
Although lacking the Wamphyri lords who made the earlier Necroscope books a delight in many respects, Necroscope: The Touch offers new alien threats on a par with the previous monsters. It's entirely possible that Lumley wanted to test his favorite creation (or his current avatar) against something other than vampires for once, and the excitement in writing a new set of villains shows in touches here and there.
Fans of Lumley's extensive body of work are likely to enjoy this latest installment; readers of eldritch horror in a Lovecraftian vein may find it equally rewarding to explore this latest adventure of the newest Necroscope.