The Throne of Bones
“You hold in your hands a book of stories that forced Brian McNaughton to write. Make no mistake: I don’t exaggerate. There’s a reason this book won the World Fantasy Award. The stories inside it are rich, fascinating stuff—creepy and unsettling and phantasmic. Imagine what Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings would have been like if Tolkien had tried to tell that story sympathetically from the point of view of the human denizens of Mordor and you’ll have the slightest sense of what you’re about to wade into—but only just a sense. These stories will make the same demands on you that they made on Brian: they will command and compel you, and fill you full of terrible wonder. And when you’ve finished them you’ll find yourself wanting more.” —Alan Rodgers
Imagine earthy Tolkienesque characters in a setting full of cemeteries, graverobbers, necromancers, corpse-eaters—even a huge labyrinthine necropolis. Imagine mephitic gardens where the sarcophage, selenotrope, and necrophilium bloom. Then throw in star-crossed lovers, crazed zealots, stalwart heroes, bloodthirsty renegade armies, hideous monsters, and likeable misfits. You’ve got just a hint of the wondrous and original visions in the dark fantasy world of Brian McNaughton.
Horror scholar S. T. Joshi, in the afterword to this collection of stories, notes the strong influence of Clark Ashton Smith, Lord Dunsany, H. P. Lovecraft, Robert E. Howard, and Greco-Roman decadent works such as Petronius’s Satyricon. “McNaughton seems to have mastered one of the most difficult of literary arts: to draw upon the classics of the field without losing his own voice…. The world that McNaughton has created in this book is the world of the ghoul; and who knows but that The Throne of Bones will become the standard textbook for the care and feeding of ghouls just as Dracula has become that for vampires?”