She Who Comes Forth, by Audrey Dricoll B
Driscoll’s She Who Comes Forth if a finely crafted supernatural
mystery adventure set in the Egypt of 1962. The story’s narrator is
France Leighton, a young woman of 21, with a brand new BA in history.
She accepts a position with an archaeological project more or less on
a whim. Or was it her ordained destiny? Accompanied by her cello,
Eudora, an inanimate friend, or perhaps a familiar, which she plays
to focus her thoughts, she sets out for Egypt.
There she finds a mix of gritty reality – her position turns out to be much less important than she was led to believe – and the strange allure of Egypt’s apparently dead past. A past that, at least in her experience, isn’t as dead as one might believe. In the old tombs she experiences strange visions of the lost glory and pageantry of Egypt. Driven by naivety, curiosity, determination, and the allure of a mysterious man, France slowly becomes dangerously entwined in a hidden supernatural conflict between the old gods of Egypt, who may themselves be the plaything of even older gods.
She Who Comes Forth is suspenseful novel in the Lovecraft tradition. While it is a standalone novel, France Leighton, has ties to characters in Audrey Driscoll’s novels and stories of Herbert West that are set decades earlier and can be further explored in those books. Lovecraftian stories of mystery and horror by many authors are enjoying a renaissance these days and while I would not call this a horror story, it is a fine example of the weird and mysterious world of Lovecraft’s imagination.
She Who Returns – Audrey Driscoll B
She Who Returns is a Lovecraftian tinged adventure story, a direct sequel to Driscoll’s She Who Comes Forth. It also serves as a capstone for her Herbert West Series, that was set a generation or two prior to this story, Reading the first book, She Who Comes Forth first is strongly advised. Having read the Herbert West series would add to the depth of the story, I don’t think those books are necessary for the enjoyment of this two book series.
I have not read any Lovecraft stories, and though I have read several that draw on his lore, I can not speak to the authenticity of its Lovecraftian atmosphere. However, I don’t think you need be a Lovecraft fan to enjoy this story. The Lovecraftian elements may, however, add depths to the story. For example, the first part of the book is set in the Lovecraft New England town of Arkham and its university, Miskatonic University. Herberrt West was a Lovecraft character in a minor story or two of his, and the main character in this story is his granddaughter, if I got my genealogy right. It’s a complicated family.
This story continues the adventures of France Leighton, student of Egyptology. It is set two years after the events of the previous novel that relates her adventures during an an archaeological dig in Luxor. France is now back in the US studying at the university. Weird and supernatural things happen to France, even in Arkham, thanks to her grandfather, and an emerald ring she inherited from him. Though, to be fair, weird thing are always happening to Arkham. At any rate, there she meets her hitherto undreamed of half-brothers, and with them, gets into all sorts of trouble. Trouble that eventually leads them back to Egypt and a lot more trouble with people and the supernatural world of ancient Egypt.
She Who Returns is a face paced, very well crafted supernatural adventure story. Miss Leighton is a fearless young woman who is in and more or less out of trouble at every turn. Audrey Driscoll has steeped her story in ancient Egypt and infused it with a gritty sense of place. While I think this two book series – it is a complete series now – will appeal to all the Lovecraft and supernatural fans out there, it will also appeal to readers who enjoy books of travel, mystery and adventure.