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The Arcanum

by Thomas Wheeler

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2048109,690 (3.57)14
It is 1919 and the Great War has come to a close. But in the shadows of the world's major cities, the killing has just begun. In this perilous time, as the division between order and chaos grows increasingly slim, a select group of visionaries have taken it upon themselves to ensure the safety of humanity. They are known as the Arcanum. In London's stormy Hyde Park, Konstantin Duvall, the Arcanum's founder, has been killed in a suspicious accident. Dismayed, the group's longest-lived member, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, determines to avenge Duvall's death--and uncover the secret left in his wake. For the dead man possessed the world's most powerful--now missing--artifact: the Book of Enoch, the chronicle of God's mistakes, within whose pages lie the seeds for the end of everything. From the scene of the crime, Conan Doyle embarks on a path that leads him to the sleazy underworld of New York City's Bowery and a series of deceptively disparate--but decidedly connected--murders. And as he calls upon the scattered members of the Arcanum for aid, he also finds himself embroiled in a story of war as old as time itself. Not of a struggle between countries, but between darkness and light. Peopled with the twentieth century's most famous--and infamous--figures, here is an extraordinary tale in which the stakes go beyond the realm of humankind--into the divine.… (more)
  1. 00
    The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Omnibus by Alan Moore (Sylak)
    Sylak: More of the same. :)
  2. 00
    Pulptime by Peter H. Cannon (paradoxosalpha)
    paradoxosalpha: H.P. Lovecraft as a detective action hero in tandem with Sherlock Holmes.
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» See also 14 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 8 (next | show all)
Nice first-time book. Quite a good story, well written, and kept me in suspense. I liked the authors decision to make the real-life characters actually be like their notorious images. In the book, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle IS a nimble-minded sleuth. Harry Houdini IS magical. And H.P. Lovecraft IS a master of the dark arts and ancient taboos.

A nice book to kill some time with. ( )
1 vote writertomg | Sep 6, 2017 |
If you can engage with the concept of an esoteric secret society staffed by Houdini, Lovecraft, Arthur Conan Doyle, and Marie Laveau, you'll enjoy the book.

This was a fun read, though very much a first novel with a lot of attendant conceits that almost threw me out of the story. Still, the idea that Lovecraft was actually a sorcerer amuses, though the multiple cameos of Aleister Crowley and William Randolph Hearst distracted as much as they furthered the plot. ( )
1 vote SESchend | Sep 6, 2017 |
A fun book, if you like books with authors and other historic figures as fictional characters. Not a great read or a story that will stay with you, but the paperback equivilant of a popcorn movie. It is a good way to pass a rainy weekend, but not something you will recommend to your book club. ( )
  ScootB | Sep 20, 2013 |
The Arcanum by Thomas Wheeler was recommended to me by a friend. I can't remember the exact context of the recommendation but it came with a physical copy of the book.

The book begins with Arthur Conan Doyle in New York to help solve a murder and exonerate his friend H.P. Lovecraft. He gets help from Harry Houdini. Together the three of them as well as a woman who should have been dead and buried are part of a secret society called The Arcanum.

The purpose of the Arcanum is built on the same mythology as the set up to Cassandra Clare's Mortal Instruments series. That unexpected connection is part of the reason I had to stop reading The Arcanum. While both are fantasies that dabble in the silly, Clare is able to stretch my suspension of disbelief without actually breaking it.

There were just too many outrageous things for me to believe. First is the oddball almost college fraternity behavior of Doyle and Houdini, both who were well past that age. Then there were their heroics which at one point involved walking tightrope style across either phone or power lines! It was just too much. ( )
2 vote pussreboots | Jul 30, 2013 |
Pretty good gaslight mystery starring a group of superstars who fight evil and bust heads (kind of like the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen). Pretty fast paced with lots of action and a whole lot of weird occultism, magic and voodoo. Decent book, although at times kind of gross. ( )
  eenerd | May 25, 2011 |
Showing 1-5 of 8 (next | show all)
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It is 1919 and the Great War has come to a close. But in the shadows of the world's major cities, the killing has just begun. In this perilous time, as the division between order and chaos grows increasingly slim, a select group of visionaries have taken it upon themselves to ensure the safety of humanity. They are known as the Arcanum. In London's stormy Hyde Park, Konstantin Duvall, the Arcanum's founder, has been killed in a suspicious accident. Dismayed, the group's longest-lived member, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, determines to avenge Duvall's death--and uncover the secret left in his wake. For the dead man possessed the world's most powerful--now missing--artifact: the Book of Enoch, the chronicle of God's mistakes, within whose pages lie the seeds for the end of everything. From the scene of the crime, Conan Doyle embarks on a path that leads him to the sleazy underworld of New York City's Bowery and a series of deceptively disparate--but decidedly connected--murders. And as he calls upon the scattered members of the Arcanum for aid, he also finds himself embroiled in a story of war as old as time itself. Not of a struggle between countries, but between darkness and light. Peopled with the twentieth century's most famous--and infamous--figures, here is an extraordinary tale in which the stakes go beyond the realm of humankind--into the divine.

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