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Book review: Brood of the Witch Queen by Sax Rohmer

brood of the witch queen sax rohmer

Genre: Science Fiction/Fantasy

Brood of the Witch Queen is one of the creepiest and scariest books of Sax Rohmer — the creator of the fiendish Fu Manchu and Sumuru. Originally serialized in a British Magazine, this intriguing Egyptian tale of ancient curse and black magic takes you from London to Cairo involving a great adventure.

The Story

Set in London in the early 1900s, this is a tale of ancient sorcery with vampires and crawly bugs. Dr. Richard and Robert Cairn fights against diabolical powers and a dark figure called Anthony Ferarra. And the odds turn terrible when Ferarra’s ancient ancestor — a Polish/Jewish witch that placed a curse on her husband’s family — casts her evil shadow.

The Style

Rohmer’s novel reflects his passion for dramatic prose and abrupt ending. Also, the characterization seems a bit wooden. Nonetheless, Brood of the Witch Queen holds a lot of value in terms of pulp entertainment. This fast moving novel is full of adventure and creepy scenes. The plot, though predictable, will not disappoint you. Though the book is about a century old, it does not seem much dated.

Not a perfect story, pretty much over the top, but Brood of the Witch Queen is pure escapist fun.

Similar Books:

Jewel of the Seven Stars by Bram Stoker

The Devil Rides Out by Dennis Wheatley

Rating ***

Brood of the Witch Queen by Sax Rohmer ebook Download


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Cover of the Week

Vintage Cover Art (Rowena Morrill): Isobel by Jane Parkhurst

Rowena Morrill vintage cover art

Rowena Morrill is a SF and fantasy artist who has some really great vintage pulp covers to her credit. The above illustration is from the horror novel Isobel by Jane Parkhurst. Even by the high standard of vintage pulp covers, this one stands out as an outstanding example of compelling horror artwork, which has altogether vanished due to some incomprehensible reason. Can you feel the evocation of the dark? Does it give you the creeps?

In his blog  Too much horror fiction, Will mentions that this was Morrill’s first cover art. Too good a debut even for someone too talented!

Here is the front cover of the paperback:

vintage cover art


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Opinion & Featured Articles

Top 5 Stephen King Movies

salems lot

There are way too many movies based on Stephen King novels and short stories. Some are absolute gems, some are plain watchable and a few are total freak shows. Want the best of the lot? Here’s our two cents:

the shinningThe Shining (1980)

Director: Stanley Kubrick
Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall, Danny Lloyd

A frustrated writer (Jack) takes up a winter caretaker job at an isolated hotel. Before he moves to the hotel with his family, the manager warns him about the terrible history of the place. Jack’s psychic son also has scary visions, and eventually all the nightmares come true as an evil presence starts having its way.

“The Shining is like a near-miss auto accident: You don’t know how scared you really were until you start shaking a few hours later.” — People Magazine

The Shawshank Redemption (1994)the Shawshank Redemption

Director: Frank Darabont
Tim Robbins, Morgan Freeman

An innocent fellow gets arrested and ends up being surrounded by the corruptions of the legal system. He bonds with a prison inmate and finds solace through acts of common decency. Based on Stephen King’s novella Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption.

“If you don’t love Shawshank, chances are you’re beyond redemption.” — Empire Magazine

carrie stephen kingCarrie (1976)

Director: Brian De Palma
Sissy Spacek, Piper Laurie, John Travolta

Carrie White, a teenage girl who gets abused by bullies, finds out that she has telekinesis. When humiliated on the night of her school’s prom, she uses her telekinetic fury on the smartass tormentors.

“An exercise in high style that even the most unredeemably rational among moviegoers should find enormously enjoyable” – Time Magazine

The Dead Zone (1983)the dead zone

Director: David Cronenberg
Christopher Walken, Brooke Adams, Martin Sheen

Johnny Smith awakens from a five year coma to discover that he has developed an ability to see a person’s future by touching him. He realizes that he can also change the future, but this proves to be a curse as he meets Greg Stillson — a ruthless politician.

“Mr. Cronenberg’s direction is vivid and effective; his pacing is a little unemphatic at times, but the film’s individual scenes are very well staged.” — New York Times

the mist stephen kingThe Mist (2007)

Director: Frank Darabont
Thomas Jane, Marcia Gay Harden, Laurie Holden

An unnatural mist envelops a town and unleashes nightmarish, otherworldly creatures. Survivors hide in a supermarket and tensions rise among them as things become worse with every passing moment.

[This] grocery-store survival drama, dominated by Marcia Gay Harden as a shrill fundamentalist, serves as a crude but effective allegory for post-9/11 America.”  — Chicago Reader

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