The Dark World

Cover image for


Author: Henry Kuttner
Published: 1946
Language: English
Wordcount: 37,823 / 105 pg
Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease: 88
LoC Category: PS
Downloads: 7,216
Added to site: 2007.11.14 19021
License: ©

An amnesiac man is transported to another world -- a new world, where he has a new name, and a new destiny!Copyright unrenewed.

Show Excerpt

st the dragging tide.

I lifted my sword -- threw the sheath away. I cut at the golden mists that fettered me.

Under the ancient steel the shining fog-wraiths shuddered and were torn apart -- and drew back. There was a break in the humming harmony; for an instant, utter silence.-

Then --

"Matholch!" the invisible whisperer cried. "Lord Matholch!"

The wolf crouched, fangs bared. I aimed a cut at its snarling mask. It avoided the blow easily and sprang.

It caught the blade between its teeth and wrenched the hilt from my grip.

The golden fogs surged back, folding me in their warm embrace.

"Caer Llyr," they murmured.

The Need-fire roared up in a scarlet fountain.

"Caer Llyr!" the flames shouted.

And out of those fires rose -- a woman!

Hair dark as midnight fell softly to her knees. Under level brows she flashed one glance at me, a glance that held question and a fierce determination. She was loveliness incarnate. Dark loveliness.


Average Rating of 4.4 from 7 reviews: *****
Leah A. Zeldes

A parallel worlds fantasy, with the ever-popular mix of medieval culture and magic. Why is it that the alternate world in these kinds of stories is never a more advanced one than ours?

H. E. Parmer

An outstanding science fantasy by Henry Kuttner and (probably) C. L. Moore, I think this stands with Vintage Season as some of their very best work.

Edward Bond, a pilot recovering from wounds received in the war, is drawn by the needfire to a parallel Earth, where the Sun is a swollen red giant, sorcery is real and strange mutations have made a reality of ancient legends. But is he truly Bond, or is he Ganelon, a cruel, arrogant warlock who with the rest of his Coven rules this "time-variant" of our world?

The witches who drew Bond/Ganelon back to the Dark World -- the beautiful scarlet witch Medea, and the yellow-eyed shape-shifter Matholch -- have very definite plans for him: with his leadership, they expect to exterminate the rebels who've lately risen to end the rule of the Coven.

And who -- according to Medea --played a nasty trick on Ganelon, by opening a door to our Earth and substituting him for his twin, the "real" Edward Bond, at the moment his plane crashed. To add insult to injury, his twin is now leading the rebels in their fight against the Coven.

Although the Coven has finally found and brought this man whom they believe to be Ganelon back to the Dark World, he has only the vaguest memories of his past life there. And to further complicate matters, there are plotters within the Coven, who in his present confusion would use him as a pawn for their own ends.

And who or what is the evil, enigmatic Llyr, the source of their power, waiting for him at Caer Llyr behind a Window into an even weirder space-time?

I've gone back and re-read this book every few years since I first encountered it as a teenager, at the end of the 60s. In fact, I still have that book, an old Ace paperback, the very same edition whose cover appears at the top of this page. Each time I find something new in it to admire, and to make me regret all over again Kuttner's death at such a tragically early age.

C. Alan Loewen

It's a pity that Kuttner died at the age of 42 as he probably had a lot more stories in him than just the gems he left us.

The Dark World is one of his best about an American WW II veteran who suddenly finds himself in another world as a pawn between the forces of good and evil.

Very fast paced, the story of conflict is only a backdrop to the bigger question as to who the protagonist really is and on what side he truly belongs.

A very good pulp-era book and in this reviewer's opinion, a good read.

Edward Ntephe

A totally brilliant book. I first read it when I was 9 years old & was captivated. I still read it, over 40 years later. \\\"At my feet the wolf snarled and strained, as though by sheer brute force it might wrench open a doorway between locked worlds\\\". Poetry. Sheer poetry.

Zelazny is brilliant too. All of his \\\'Amber\\\' books.

Sardo Weems

A good little book, it seemed complete to me. A few typos that made a sentence or two unintelligible, but overall a good treatement of parallel worlds/magic explained as physics/doppelgangers/and a quest to save the world.

It's fantasy, but at least some attempt is made to explain the fantasy elements. Better than Zelazny.


I am a fan of Zelazny's Amber books and read The Dark World because of the previous review. Excellent - my only complaint is that it was not longer. The fascinating world and characters could have supported a longer book or series.


Roger Zelazny credited this story with being influential to him, specifically in regard to his Amber novels. An excellent read in its own right.

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