Monday, November 24, 2014

Crossover Covers: Bloody Liars

Sergeant Major William Gravel, SAS member and combat magician, is ousted from the Minor Seven, a group of “occult detectives,” and is forced to kill his corrupt former teammates, who are planning to use pages from the Sigsand Manuscript for their own nefarious purposes. The Manuscript’s previous owner, Thomas Carnacki, appears in flashback. The connection to William Hope Hodgson’s occult detective Carnacki brings Gravel into the Crossover Universe. His presence in the CU is further solidified by a reference in Justin Gustainis’ novella Midnight at the Oasis. Gravel says that Carnacki died in 1923, and another member of the Minor Seven named Sykes reveals that his death was caused by cancer brought about by exposure to radiation from the sleuth’s electric pentacle and other devices. However, several accounts set later than 1923 feature a still-living Carnacki; furthermore Simon R. Green’s Nightside novels indicate that Carnacki served as a mentor to the protagonist of that series, P.I. John Taylor, who is active in the 21st century. Therefore, the accounts of Carnacki’s death in 1923 must be false. Since Taylor would have been born in the 1970s, Carnacki must have had his lifespan extended somehow. The Nightside books also have a number of references to combat magicians, further cementing William Gravel’s presence in the CU. Josh Reynolds’ Royal Occultist stories place Carnacki’s death in 1918, but I have previously speculated that Carnacki merely faked his death in that year.


  1. It's interesting how influential the Carnacki stories are. Hodgeson wasn't that great at characterization, but Carnacki seems to have endured longer than more realize characters. Of course, Hodgeson, like Lovecraft after him, was very good at cosmic horror. "The Hog" for example is almost surreal.

  2. I'm a big William Hope Hodgson fan; The House on the Borderland, in particular, is worth a read, and that has a lot of the same themes as the Carnacki books.

    "Forgotten Futures" did a role-playing game based on Carnacki a while back. They wrote a biography for the character ( which said that he died in 1933, which seems more believable. It's all fan work, though, so it's only supposition.

    It's quite an entertaining resource, Forgotten Futures- there's no crossovers there, unfortunately, and its quite AU, but it is still fun. There's some interesting apocrypha on Professor Challenger there, as well, which is always nice.

  3. House on the Borderland was a great read.