Forthcoming titles

(Book titles are subject to change)

Algernon Blackwood's Shorter Supernatural Fiction (2 vols.)

Terrys Texas Rangers

The Last Crusaders

The Defeat of the U-Boats

Sup Richard Middleton

The Battle of Austerlitz

The Campaigns of Alexander

Sabre and Foil Fighting

The Fourth Leonaur Book of Ghost and Horror Stories

The Irish Legion

General Von Zieten

Armoured Cars and Aircraft

The Chinese Regiment

Texas Cavalry and the Laurel Brigade

The First Crusaders

The Lionheart and the Third Crusade

The Winnebagos

Roger Lamb and the American War of Independence

Gronow of the Guards

Plumer of Messines

... and more

The Collected Supernatural and Weird Fiction of Robert W. Chambers: Volume 3

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The Collected Supernatural and Weird Fiction of Robert W. Chambers: Volume 3
Leonaur Original
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Author(s): Robert W. Chambers
Date Published: 2010/06
Page Count: 488
Softcover ISBN-13: 978-0-85706-195-9
Hardcover ISBN-13: 978-0-85706-196-6

The third chilling collection of the author’s weird and supernatural fiction

Robert W. Chambers most famous and most highly regarded work is undoubtedly, 'The King in Yellow'—a collection of stories held by the common theme of a drama of the same title which drives those who read it to insanity. It is widely accepted that this work is one of the most important in the whole library of American supernatural writing. Nevertheless, it is but part of Chambers’ output in the field of weird and supernatural writings, so this special Leonaur collection of Chambers fiction in the genre—which of course includes the stories that comprise 'The King in Yellow'—runs to a satisfying four substantial volumes. Leonaur editions are available in softcover and hardback with dust jacket for collectors. 
This third volume includes the novel ‘The Tracer of Lost Persons,’ four novelettes ‘The Maker of Moons,’ ‘The Street of Our Lady of the Fields,’ ‘The Street of the First Shell’ and ‘The White Shadow’ and nine short stories.

In a flash, like a printed picture on a screen, illuminated, keenly etched in the white glare, I see the bed, and the people around me, the black gowns, the pale eyes of the doctor, the sponge and basin, the rolls of lint.<br>
Voices, minute but clean-cut and clear as picked harp-strings, tinkle in my ears; the voice of the doctor, other voices, but always the voice of the doctor—“The splinter of bone on the brain; the splinter pressing on the tissues; the depression.”<br>
The doctor! That is the man! That is the man who comes to my side, who follows, follows where I go, who seeks me throughout the world! I saw him as I lay flung on the turf, limp, unconscious, below the cliffs on the Aspen hills; I felt his presence in the studio; I heard him creeping at my heels across the gorse thickets of St. Gildas. And now he has come to cut short the magic second, to turn back time—back, back, into the old worn channels, rock-ribbed and salt with tears.<br>
As a leaf of written paper torn in two, so shall my life be torn in two; and the long tear shall mangle the chapter written in rose and gold.<br>
Then, too, my shadow, already turned from white to gray, shall fall with a deeper stain wherever I pass; and I shall see the yellow gorse glimmer and turn to golden-rod, and the poplars turn to oaks; and the twin towers of Notre Dame, filmy, lace-carved, and gray with centuries, shall dwindle as I look dwindle—and sway and turn to pines, singing pines that murmur to the winds, blowing across the Aspen hills.<br>
All that is fair shall pass away; all that I love, all that I fear for—these shall the doctor take away, lifting them from my memory on the point of a steel blade. What has he to give in return? A hell of vapour, distorting sight; a hell of sound, drowning the soul.<br>
Gigantic apparitions arise across the world of water, wavering like shadows on the clouds. Steel-clad, clothed in skins, casqued in steel, their winged heads bend and nod and move against the clouds. And even they are changing as clouds change shape. I see steel limbs turn red and naked. I see winged casques trail to the earth, feathered, painted in colours of earth.<br>
Ihó! Inâh! Etó! E-hó!<br>
The bridge of stars spans the vast lake of air; the sun and the moon travel over it.<br>
* * * * * *<br>
My shadow is turning dark; I can scarcely see the doctor, but now—God have mercy!—I can touch him.<br>
All the high spectres are stooping from the clouds, bending above me to watch. I know them and their eyes of shadow—I know them now; Hârpen that was to Chaské what Hárpstinâ shall be to Hapéda; and Hârka shall come after all with the voice of winter winds:<br>
Aké u, aké u, aké u!<br>
But the magic second shall never return.<br>
Mâ cânté maséca!<br>
Now they leave my bed, the people who crowded there under the shadowy forms of the spectres; now the doctor bends over; I see and feel him. His hands are tangled in the threads of time; he is cutting a thread; he—<br>
When I spoke to him first I spoke in the French language. Before he answered, the scream of a blue jay in the elms outside set my nerves aquiver, and I called for Donald and Walter.<br>
As I lay there I could see the Aspen hills from the window, heaps of crumpled gold bathed in sunshine. Over them sailed the froth from the silken milkweed; over them drifted the big brown-red butterflies, luminous as richest autumn leaves.<br>
Someone closed the door softly. The doctor had gone.<br>
The sunlight poured into the window, etching my shadow on the wall behind. Lying very still there I saw it motionless beside me. The shadow was black.<br>
Somebody said in the next room, “Will he die?”<br>
“Die?” I said aloud.<br>
A bird twittered outside my window.<br>
The door opened again, noiselessly.<br>
“Sweetheart?” I whispered.<br>
“Yes, Jack.”<br>
After a moment I said, “When do you go back to school?”<br>
“I? I finished school a year ago.”<br>
“Come nearer.”<br>
“I am here, Jack.”<br>
“Time stopped a year ago.”<br>
“A year ago today.”<br>
The same gray eyes, the same face, paler, perhaps.<br>
“We have journeyed far,” I sighed, “always together, but in those days our shadows were white as snow. Am I going to die? There are tears in your eyes.”<br>
They fell on my cheek; her arms fell too, closer, closer, around my neck.<br>
“Life has begun,” she said.<br>
“Life? What was the year that ends today? The magic second of life?”<br>
“A year of death, to me!”<br>
Ah, but her soul knows of a life in death! And she shall know it, too, when her shadow turns whiter than snow. For the Temple of Idols has closed its doors at the sound of a voice, and an idol of gilt has turned to flesh and blood.<br>
So shall she know of the life in death when her soul and her body are one.
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