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Arkham Horror: The Dark Waters Book 2 -…

Arkham Horror: The Dark Waters Book 2 - Bones of the Yopasi (Dark Waters…

by Graham McNeill

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201515,329 (4.33)1



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The second volume of McNeill's Dark Waters Trilogy set in the Arkham Horror milieu is an improvement on his first, in both style and substance. The first was passable, but the second was better. I actually got the impression that he had been reading some Lovecraft in between writing the two books, an impression bolstered by inclusion of features like an homage to the non-"Mythos" HPL story "The Outsider."

Ghouls of the Miskatonic (the first book) was set mostly in Arkham, and in its sequel the focus transitions to Kingsport. At the same time, the plot pulls ever closer to the events described in "The Call of Cthulhu," with Brown University professor George Gammell Angell becoming part of the team of investigators. The integration of various Dreamlands concepts is done in a way that meshes fairly artfully with the Cthulhu-oriented main plot, and there are still a couple of conspicuous episodes (including the final climax) of gory horror. There's also some further exploitation of the "Arkham Horror" game characters, with author Gloria Goldberg receiving a conspicuous introduction.

At the end of this book there is a plot twist that I had been expecting since fairly early in the preceding volume, so it certainly didn't come as a surprise. I'm not sure how McNeill was to have done a better job setting it up, but the whole thing was pretty transparent to me. On page 87, Alexander Templeton refers to his "researches into the attempts of that loathsome Englishman, Aleister Crowley, to obtain a number of occult artifacts." But at the end of the book, Templeton is revealed to be an arch-cultist of Cthulhu who has been full of deceit the whole time, which certainly throws into question the significance of his appraisal of Crowley. Note also: In keeping with the remark in my review of the previous volume that McNeill appeared to be using Tolkien as a model, Templeton plays Saruman to Angell's Gandalf. I will be fully vindicated if the third book features the Miskatonic co-eds carrying an evil artifact to its destruction in some benighted zone of sorcery.

As with the first book, the cover art is very attractive and fitting. Game publisher Fantasy Flight does fine presentation, especially when it comes to Yog-Sothothery.
2 vote paradoxosalpha | Apr 1, 2013 |
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