A gunfight in a museum leads an aristocratic burglar into mortal danger and cosmic peril, in our second book reveal! Our first foray into the Lovecraftian realm of Arkham Horror is Wrath of N’Kai by Josh Reynolds, arriving on your bookshelf in May 2020! Read on for the full synopsis and a question & answer session with Josh. Plus, feast your soul upon Daniel Strange’s stunning artwork inspired by classic pulp fiction book covers and 1920s horror movie posters…
An international thief of esoteric artifacts stumbles onto a nightmarish cult in 1920s New England, in this rip-roaring adventure of eldritch dread.
Contessa Alessandra Zorzi, international adventurer and thief, arrives in Arkham pursuing an ancient body freshly exhumed from a mound in Oklahoma, of curious provenance and peculiar characteristics. But before she can steal it, another party beats her to it. During the resulting gunfight at the Arkham Historical Society, the Contessa makes eye contact with the petrified corpse and begins an adventure of discovery outside her wildest experiences. Now, caught between her mysterious client, the police, and a society of necrophagic connoisseurs, she finds herself on the trail of a resurrected mummy as well as the star-born terror gestating within it.
Your central character is fascinating – tell us about the Contessa?
Countess Alessandra Zorzi is a professional acquisitionist – or, more simply, a thief. She travels the world, stealing eldritch artifacts on behalf of anyone who has the money to pay her outrageously exorbitant fee. She once stole a gargoyle from the infamous cathedral of Vyones, and purloined the entirety of the Comte d’Erlette’s occult library.
She’s the sort of character I love writing – dangerous, witty and a tad too sure of herself. Despite her profession, Alessandra is no believer in the occult. But a few days in Arkham may well change that…
We know your epic brain is full of delicious little facts and random snippets of information – what’s the best you turned up writing Wrath of N’kai?
The electric cabs of 1890s London were nicknamed ‘Hummingbirds’, due to the peculiar humming sound their batteries made.
What are the challenges of writing 1920s-set dark and eldritch fiction from a 2019 perspective?
Well, for me, it’s mostly remembering the little things as I write. For instance, American police cars didn’t have radios until the end of the decade, and cabs didn’t have them until the 1940s. Hotel rooms, even fancy ones, rarely had telephones in the rooms – if you wanted to make a call, you had to go to the front desk. Elevators had attendants. So did public restrooms, at least in fancier establishments. Coffee shops were everywhere, even back then. Everyone – and I mean everyone – smoked. And drank. Despite Prohibition. Or maybe because of it.
Too, there’s the ever-present risk of getting lost in the research. I spent two hours – two! – looking up ticket prices for a train journey from Boston to Providence in the 1920s, for absolutely no reason. Another hour looking up cigarette brands common in Europe at that time. Three looking up information on taxi cabs that I mostly ended up glossing over or fudging, because it wasn’t actually important. Gets me every time.
JOSH REYNOLDS is the author of over thirty novels and numerous short stories, including the wildly popular Warhammer: Age of Sigmar and Warhammer 40,000. He grew up in South Carolina and now lives in Sheffield, UK.
Wrath of N’Kai is available for pre-order from major retailers now: