The Novel of the Black Seal

The Novel of the Black Seal


(3 Reviews)
The Novel of the Black Seal by Arthur Machen







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The Novel of the Black Seal


(3 Reviews)
A man gradually uncovers the secrets of a race of pre-humans hiding in the Welsh hills, and the true nature of a hybrid, idiot child fathered by one of them.

Book Excerpt

back. Beneath was traced a number of uncouth characters, shaped somewhat like wedges or daggers, as strange and outlandish as the Hebrew alphabet.

'Now the seal,' said Professor Gregg, and he handed me the black stone, a thing about two inches long, and something like an old-fashioned tobacco-stopper, much enlarged.

I held it up to the light, and saw to my surprise the characters on the paper repeated on the seal.

'Yes,' said the professor, 'they are the same. And the marks on the limestone rock were made fifteen years ago, with some red substance. And the characters on the seal are four thousand years old at least. Perhaps much more.'

'Is it a hoax?' I said.

'No, I anticipated that. I was not to be led to give my life to a practical joke. I have tested the matter very carefully. Only one person besides myself knows of the mere existence of that black seal. Besides, there are other reasons which I cannot enter into now.'

'But what does it all mean?' I said. 'I cannot


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I found my first, legally-free copy outside of Manybooks, and came here to find a less ill-formatted one (ereader issues): As written by a reviewer before me: "A fairly creepy story of a professor, who acquires a black stone incised with 60 characters, which exist in no language. His investigations lead him to barren English hillsides and very old legends." is one part of the truth about the novel of the black seal.

Another is that Arthur Machen has an interesting writing style, when one found him via Lovecraftian fandoms. By that i mean that he finds less clumsy and less-squeamish formulations, but tends to get a bit lengthy thereafter (each time). Not too badly so.

Machen presents plausible characters, though sometimes a bit freaky, or exotic, and he has a fluent way to deliver the story. To me he succeeded as well with both, the literal and the unwritten, working to deliver atmosphere and meaning to the reader. On H.P. Lovecraft's Cthulhu myth such was considered a sign of unique skill, here, Scottish, it worked even better! ;-) (Yeah, i just dared to say some horror authors are nearly as dumb, as their audiences).

I think he is between Robert E. Howard and H.P. Lovecraft's Cthulhu concept, when it comes to the kinda suspense & horror, which I appreciate. I always found that gory horror is better served by movies, and I remember an old, academic thesis about comparing the stone age mankind to the academic "today". A fear of the savage winning? ;-)

The story is worth a read, when the reader is unafraid of facing some lengthy sermon, or prepared to handle it. Needless to say: The story is from a time, when neither proofread software, nor high grammar rules, existed at all (even I know of my own flaws with it, and I can't say I rejoice reading worse).
A fairly creepy story of a professor who acquires a black stone incised with 60 characters that exist in no language. His investigations lead him to barren English hillsides and very old legends.
The story suffers from being told second- and third-hand and things only being hinted at, but it managed to hold my interest.