Angell is chanting, his voice becoming more confident with each line.
The Tibetans have crowded around Miller, and have dropped their weapons. They want to pray Miller into the Bardo, so that his soul will have a safe journey to his next life, but they do not want to interfere with the Closing of the Gate, so they wait patiently.
The body of the cult leader—unnamed and unknown to Angell—has been dragged away to feed the vultures. The other devotees—seemingly hundreds of them—are standing, attentive, knowing that whatever happens in the next few moments it will be something to remember, to record for posterity, and to tell their diseased and vicious offspring that they were there when the Gate almost opened.
Angell chants on. Between two worlds.
Jamila takes the muzzle of the AK-47 and presses it against her chest. She tries to reach for the trigger but her arms are not long enough. She adjusts herself and tries again.
Angell looks up and sees what she is doing.
If she kills herself, she may open the Gate. A chain reaction of all the dead who have been sacrificed over the millennia to the Old Ones. Morphic resonance! Giving it the power it needs to break free. I know why she is doing this. She thinks she will close the Gate by killing herself. But I can’t let her do it.
Without missing a beat in the incantation, Angell swings and slams his fist into her head. She drops the weapon and falls to the ground, dazed.
He continues the chant.
On the other side of the world, the instruction that passed down the chain of command that began in a small office in a Washington, DC suburb— Monroe’s office—is executed. The submarine that was nearly sunk by the rising of a submerged city in the middle of the Pacific Ocean has fired a nuclear missile into the sunken city’s center mass. The effect is two-fold: it re-submerges the city (what’s left of it) but it also creates a tsunami that effectively covers other risen architecture from the South Pacific to the Indian Ocean. The ancient “hidden countries” of Cthulhu and its followers are being submerged again.
As bodies of giant squid and other cephalopods rise to the surface of the oceans, Angell completes his chant. The expected supernova in the Great Bear constellation dims. The Gate is closing and Cthulhu is once again in its Tomb: a coffin built of eldritch dreams, stale blood, and conflicting dimensions. Miller is dead, but Angell can hear his voice in his head begging him to destroy the Book.
Monroe sees that the global conflagration is stalling. The first sign was the unexpected dimming of the supernova. The second was the destruction of the sunken city. The Gate must have been closed, he thinks. Somehow, something went right.
Now he has a decision to make and it must be made immediately.
If Angell is still alive and has the Book, there is no guarantee he will get out of Nepal safely. If someone else manages to get the Book, they could all be back where they started. Does he take a chance that Angell will emerge in one piece and safely hand over the Necronomicon?
Or does he make the hard choice?
Aubrey has just hung up with Monroe. The decision has been made. He sits down with his head in his hands. There is nothing else to do. They have won, but the cost is high.
The cultists are milling around, all dressed up and nowhere to go. Jamila is regaining consciousness. Angell looks around for Adnan. Finds him on the floor near the rear wall. He has been shot through the abdomen.
“Don’t know who did it. There were bullets flying … I thought for sure you were dad … I mean, dead …”
“Hold on. I’ll get help.”
Adnan grabs the professor’s arm.
“Yeah? Where? I’ve got a sucking chest wound, son. There are no medics for miles around here. I’d die before I could make it out of here, much less to a doctor. And no one is coming in here after us.”
“No! This is not going to end this way!”
“Hey, I’m Ahl-e-Haqq, remember? We believe in reincarnation. I’ll be back,” he said in his best Schwarzenegger impression.
“You got the Book, right?” Angell could only nod.
“Hey, then. Mission accomplished, right?” “We did good, Adnan.”
And then Adnan answered him, but in his own Kurdish dialect. He was losing consciousness. Hallucinating. And there was not a damned thing he could do for him.
One of the Tibetans who came with Miller walked up to him, and looked down at Adnan.
“Bad,” he said.
“Yes,” replied Angell. “Bad.”
“And her?” he asked, pointing to Jamila. “Nepali? Lepcha?” “No. Yezidi.”
“Ah, Yezidi. Yezidi no good.” He waved dismissively.
Angell, in a fit of fury, jumped up and knocked the man down with his fists, the second time he had to strike another human being.
“We are all Yezidi,” he told him.
Adnan has died. Miller is dead. The nameless cult leader is dead. Others are also dead, he doesn’t know their names. The Tomb of Cthulhu has become the tomb of so many others. He wants to bring Adnan’s body at least out of the tunnels but he has no idea how to do that on his own when he doesn’t even know how to get out himself. He goes through Adnan’s pockets and finds a letter he has written to his parents, sealed and ready to be mailed. The sight of it causes Angell to lose it. He just sits there, soaking in his friend’s—yes, he thinks, his friend’s—blood and weeps.
Jamila finally stands up, and looks around in a daze. The smell of the firefight has mixed with the noxious incense and the atmosphere is stifling. She reaches down and touches Angell on the shoulder. After a minute he
looks up at her. She nods, and points back to the way she entered with the cultists. That way, she seems to say. That way is out.
Angell walks out of the hidden country into the crisp night air. He is alone. Jamila has stayed behind to care for the wounded, something she has learned how to do. Angell, however, has to go. He cannot afford to be captured and the Book must not fall into the wrong hands.
He walks off into the Nepalese mountains as the Raptor drone fires one of its Hellfire missiles at the cave entrance.
And Angell disappears.
From all this, one common characteristic emerges—access to the sacred and to the spirit is always figured as an embryonic gestation and a new birth.
—Mircea Eliade, Rites and Symbols of Initiation
Monroe gets reports from his extraction team. Angell is nowhere to be found. Neither is the Book. Miller’s body is discovered and he appears to have been shot by a round fired from Angell’s weapon. That’s the story, anyway. He will replace the ballistics report with one that matches Angell’s nine millimeter, the one in Aubrey’s possession. It gives Monroe the option of labeling Angell a murderer and a traitor, which would give him the authority to track him down anywhere in the world. It’s an option he will remember.
Aubrey believed Angell to be dead, his body to be discovered eventually somewhere in the tunnel complex. Then Adnan’s body is recovered. Oddly, his parents receive a letter from him that was mailed after his body was discovered. It was mailed from Hong Kong. Everyone is confused, except Aubrey. He makes inquiries in Hong Kong, but Angell is long gone by then. He hopes Angell is smiling somewhere.
The missing JSOC team is eventually recovered. They were drugged by some noxious herb in a burning censer carried by an old Tibetan man in the tunnels. There was no ventilation, and they succumbed immediately and were out for twelve hours. No one thought to bring gas masks.
The Cthulhu Cult continued to organize and attempt to resurrect their High Priest, their connection to the alien forces they believe will save them. But without the Book, they are handicapped. They will try again, however. They always do.
Angell never returns to his apartment in the Red Hook section of Brooklyn. He is alone in a remote area of the world—Mongolia—
following a hunch that one of the Seven Towers is located there, near the Singing Sands of the southern Gobi Desert. He has found a rock with an inscription. Something about strange aeons and the death of … death. But he really is pondering his next move. He has the Book safely hidden. His atheism has been shaken to its core by the things he has seen and done. He has witnessed what can only be described as the paranormal. But that doesn’t mean he has to believe in God and the Devil. After all, the old shaman didn’t. And he saw no evidence of God in the cavern.
He thinks the spirituality of the world is not based on God and the Devil, but on a struggle between what it means to be human and those alien forces that care nothing for humans except as beasts of burden or food, if they even care at all. They say that the Devil’s deepest wile is to persuade us that he does not exist. Angell thinks that Cthulhu’s deepest wile is to persuade us that the Gods we worship are really on our side; he knows that those Gods are used as masks by a deeper, darker Evil than we can ever imagine for it demands our destruction even as it demands our obedience and our love.
He hopes—ironically, he prays—that he is wrong. That he’s got it all wrong, and that his new belief system is the product of the diseased mind of that Thing in the Tomb, calling out to him, seducing him with its thoughts. The Call of Cthulhu.
There is only one tool to stop this force from gaining power the next time a Gate is about to open. And Angell has it. And is never letting it go.
The Book. The Black Book. The Necronomicon.
Gregory Angell and the Book will return in Dunwich.
First, I would like to thank Bill Corsa, my long-suffering agent who tried for more than a decade to sell this property because he believed in it (or, rather, did not believe that anyone would not want to publish it). So this is a culmination of all those book proposals—so many book proposals to so many publishers—over all those years. The book has changed considerably in that amount of time, not least because the political situation in the world changed so fundamentally and so quickly, requiring extensive rewrites and re-imaginings. Thanks for all the yeoman’s work you’ve put into this project, Bill. You can relax now. It’s done!
Next, many thanks and genuflections go to Yvonne Paglia. Although I have published considerable amounts of non-fiction with Ibis Press and Nicolas Hays, Inc. in the last few years, this is my first published work of book-length fiction. She is taking a chance, and for that I will be forever grateful.
Stuart Weinberg of Seven Stars Bookstore in Boston. His voice forcefully was raised in support of this project as well. Like Bill Corsa, he didn’t understand why someone would not want to publish a book about Lovecraft and the Necronomicon, international terrorism, devil worshipping cults, intelligence agencies, necromancy, necrophilia and all the other necros, as well as the breakdown of human civilization generally. I mean, come on. What’s not to like?
Donald Weiser. For his good humor and patience, with my projects and with me especially.
James Wasserman. (Sigh.) I tried to keep the Crowley material to a minimum, man, but you know … well … it’s not easy. Jim also was a major supporter of this project and urged Yvonne to publish it. He has been a designer of my books for a long time, and a friend for even longer. I am grateful to him, Stuart, and Bill for their unwavering moral support.
(Also, having a book contract meant I actually had to finish writing the damned thing.)
To Whitley Strieber and Christopher Farnsworth, both busy and successful writers who very generously took time out of their schedules to read an early version of the novel and comment on it. Many thanks!
To good friends (if they’re still speaking to me) Maya Gabrieli, Sophie Kaye, Adrian Anderson, Nina Rojas, and Captain Bates, to name a few: all people I have been avoiding the past year because writing is a solitary practice that does not permit of much socializing. There are others, mostly family, who are not mentioned here by name for their security in case everything I’ve written about in this book turns out to be true!
And thanks to all of you, dear readers. You have supported my efforts through the years to investigate and reveal the hidden structures of our world through my non-fiction works. This book is an attempt to do the same, only using fiction as a medium instead of the heavily-footnoted, bibliographed books I normally write. Consider this as me, after a particularly hairy overseas trip, hanging out with you, thinking aloud in an unedited way about the cosmic implications of things I’ve read and seen: the kind of conversations I have in my own head all the time.
And for those of you who don’t understand how I can write about Nazis one day and about Tantra or Alchemy or Religion the next, I hope this book ties it all together for you.
A wise man (probably a lawyer) once wrote that some truths can only be expressed in fiction. This is my attempt to do just that.
Peter Levenda is a well-known author of many published works on esoteric subjects. His Unholy Alliance: A History of Nazi Involvement with the Occult bears a foreword by Norman Mailer and has been translated into six foreign languages. Ratline: Soviet Spies, Nazi Priests, and the Disappearance of Adolf Hitler broke new ground when it revealed the Far East segment of the Nazi escape routes after the fall of Germany. His Hitler Legacy: The Nazi Cult in Diaspora: How it was Organized, How it was Funded, and Why it Remains a Threat to Global Security in the Age of Terrorism explores the pernicious Nazi influence on the modern interpretation of Jihad. Levenda is also the author of the three-volume study of the influence of esoterica on American politics, Sinister Forces: A Grimoire of American Political Witchcraf. His Ibis Press book Dark Lord:
H.P. Lovecraft, Kenneth Grant, and the Typhonian Tradition in Magic
explores many of the esoteric themes exposed in this novel.
ALSO FROM PETER LEVENDA
THE DARK LORD
H.P. Lovecraft, Kenneth Grant, and the Typhonian Tradition in Magic
One of the most famous—yet least understood—manifestations of Thelemic thought has been the works of Kenneth Grant, the British occultist and one-time intimate of Aleister Crowley, who discovered a hidden world within the primary source materials of Crowley’s Aeon of Horus. Using complementary texts from such disparate authors as H.P. Lovecraft, Jack Parsons, Austin Osman Spare, and Charles Stansfeld Jones (“Frater Achad”), Grant formulated a system of magic that expanded upon that delineated in the rituals of the OTO: a system that included elements of Tantra, of Voudon, and in particular that of the Schlangekraft recension of the Necronomicon, all woven together in a dark tapestry of power and illumination.