Book Of The Elder Wisdom: An Eldritch Mystery is a mix of occult, science fiction and horror. If, like me, you are unfamiliar with the word ‘Eldritch’, the meaning which most suits it in this instance is ‘otherworldly’.
The story is set in 1984 and opens with a tale about a trip to ancient pueblo-style dwellings in New Mexico and the discovery of a mysterious tower with a sinister atmosphere. The unnamed narrator finds a modern backpack in the tower, which he finds suspicious.
The narrator asks his friend, a private detective, to help him find the backpack owner. The narrator is also troubled by repeated dreams of unearthly horrors.
As the story develops our storyteller is drawn to the Church Of The Elder Wisdom, a recently developed modern cult. They, in turn, are very interested in our chronicler, especially as they believe that he can contact otherworldly beings.
The pace increases with the involvement of the FBI who ask him to assist in investigating the cult and its agenda. The story gets quite complicated when the narrator visits a numbers of different dimensions whilst in a sleep state, where he is shown the true beings behind the visions.
When I read the first pages of this story I thought that the main story theme would involve native American legends. However, the story soon veered towards a Scientology style of religion. That is not to say that the native American ancestors didn’t appear again; they did have another chapter or two. There was quite a bit of time spent in trances and dreams, which added to the story detail, but I found them less enjoyable than parts set in real time.
Readers might spot the 1984 setting and wonder if the author deliberately chose this with its famous association to Orwell’s book. I thought that there were enough nods to Orwell’s dystopian world to make it significant. The ending needs a mention; it felt at odds with the rest of the story and I’m afraid that it left me rather disappointed.
View all my reviews on Goodreads
It is 1984 … Orwell’s year. Yet, it seems, not his alone, for it marks the coming of the Elder Wisdom: the legacy of another long-dead author, which threatens to become a reality of eldritch horror, conjured by monstrous forces from beyond our world.
An unwitting heir to this legacy stumbles onto its dark mysteries, and sets out to solve them – on a quest that ranges from an ancient tower of the Anasazi in the American Southwest, to the streets of Skid Row Los Angeles, and finally into the farthest reaches of time and space.
The Book of the Elder Wisdom renders a faithful account of these strange events and all that ultimately transpired, as told to R. Walter Dutton.