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Wrath of N'kai

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The first in a new range of novels of eldritch adventure from the wildly popular Arkham Horror; an international thief of esoteric artifacts stumbles onto a nightmarish cult in 1920s New England. Countess Alessandra Zorzi, international adventurer and thief, arrives in  Arkham pursuing an ancient body freshly exhumed from a  mound in Oklahoma, of curious provenance and pecu The first in a new range of novels of eldritch adventure from the wildly popular Arkham Horror; an international thief of esoteric artifacts stumbles onto a nightmarish cult in 1920s New England. Countess 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 Miskatonic Museum, the countess 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.


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The first in a new range of novels of eldritch adventure from the wildly popular Arkham Horror; an international thief of esoteric artifacts stumbles onto a nightmarish cult in 1920s New England. Countess Alessandra Zorzi, international adventurer and thief, arrives in  Arkham pursuing an ancient body freshly exhumed from a  mound in Oklahoma, of curious provenance and pecu The first in a new range of novels of eldritch adventure from the wildly popular Arkham Horror; an international thief of esoteric artifacts stumbles onto a nightmarish cult in 1920s New England. Countess 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 Miskatonic Museum, the countess 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.

30 review for Wrath of N'kai

  1. 4 out of 5

    Lawrence

    Thank you to Aconyte Books for providing me with an advance review copy Wrath of N'kai is the first in a line of stories set in the Arkham Horror setting, a 1920s america directly based off of H.P. Lovecraft's works. The story follows master thief Alessandra Zorzi, who is hired by a mysterious man to steal a mummy that was recently uncovered in middle America. However, before she has a chance to do her job someone beats her to it and now she has to track down the culprits and recover the mummy. Thank you to Aconyte Books for providing me with an advance review copy Wrath of N'kai is the first in a line of stories set in the Arkham Horror setting, a 1920s america directly based off of H.P. Lovecraft's works. The story follows master thief Alessandra Zorzi, who is hired by a mysterious man to steal a mummy that was recently uncovered in middle America. However, before she has a chance to do her job someone beats her to it and now she has to track down the culprits and recover the mummy. She is aided in her mission by an uncouth cabby named pepper, who is probably the most reliable person in the universe. I really enjoyed this book, Reynolds did an excellent job in writing a story that is accessible to readers who have never read an H.P. Lovecraft story or played the board game, but still has plenty of nods to the readers who have. This really feels like a story that was set a hundred years ago, with characters often speaking in that 1920s slang and gangsters slinging tommy guns. Alessandra makes for a very compelling protagonist, a competent and witty woman who's not going to take lip from anyone. We see most of the story from her perspective as she slowly unravels the mystery of who stole the mummy. This book reads like a whodunit with supernatural creepy bits, which I did not expect when I started reading this, but works surprisingly well. The lovecraftian bits about cosmic horror and old gods are certainly there but they're not really explored, which does make sense because our protagonist is not the slightest versed in the occult. The only issue I had with this story is that at a certain point there are a bit too many characters to keep track of, which isn't necessarily a big deal but I did get characters mixed up from time to time. All in all, Wrath of N'kai is an eminently enjoyable read and sets the bar very high for future entries in the Arkham Horror series. 4.5 stars, closer to a five than a four.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Paulo "paper books always" Carvalho

    Well, this was a fast read (to me) only a 4 sips and that was it. What to tell abou this... In this story we follow Alessandra (the countess thief) as she is in her new quest to steal a mummy. Yeah. After the first 40 or 50 pages this novel turns more mystery focus and only at some parts (very brief) it has something akin to Lovecraftian horror. I have to mention that the last 40 pages of the book are the real Lovecraftian lore (although a bit underachieve to be honest). Of course there are mentio Well, this was a fast read (to me) only a 4 sips and that was it. What to tell abou this... In this story we follow Alessandra (the countess thief) as she is in her new quest to steal a mummy. Yeah. After the first 40 or 50 pages this novel turns more mystery focus and only at some parts (very brief) it has something akin to Lovecraftian horror. I have to mention that the last 40 pages of the book are the real Lovecraftian lore (although a bit underachieve to be honest). Of course there are mentions of the boardgames all over the place... be that be Silver Twilight Lodge; O'Bannon; same places in Arkham and several characters. The only one that really had any impact was Muldoon. (The police officer). If you didn't play any kind of boardgames like Arkham Horror; Elder Sign, Eldritch Horror; New Arkham Horror 3edition; Arkham Horror LCG or Mansion of Madness (in all of these games the characters are the same - I cannot confirm in 100% for Mansion since it's the only one I didn't play) you will not be at lost. They don't focus heavily on those but give us hints to us that play like the beforementioned Muldoon; Harvey; Daisy Walker and small others that appear also in Lovecraft like Armitage. It was not fast paced, bear in mind that this is more on board with Arkham Horror 3dition OR more LCG because Eldritch you go all over the world; Mansion of Madness it's always inside a mansion(or adjacents parts) and Elder Sign it's just a lite version with no plot. Just dice rolling. Overall I enjoy it and will buy the next ones; to new people it would be a good read; but it's not the best lovecraftian horror story more... Whodunit? It's the term I believe for this....

  3. 5 out of 5

    Michael Botterill

    After my review of Tales from The Crucible, Aconyte reached out to set me up with a new copy of Wrath if N’Kai by Josh Reynolds. So here are some disclaimers which are always important to put out there first. I am a friend of Josh on Facebook, and whilst we aren’t beat buds, we do interact with each other and I consider him a class person, and I have very much enjoyed his work with Black Library. Secondly I have a casual work contact with Asmodee to demonstrate board games for them in stores and a After my review of Tales from The Crucible, Aconyte reached out to set me up with a new copy of Wrath if N’Kai by Josh Reynolds. So here are some disclaimers which are always important to put out there first. I am a friend of Josh on Facebook, and whilst we aren’t beat buds, we do interact with each other and I consider him a class person, and I have very much enjoyed his work with Black Library. Secondly I have a casual work contact with Asmodee to demonstrate board games for them in stores and at conventions. Asmodee being the parent company of Aconyte the publisher. I am going to try my best to not let these things cloud my judgement in this review, but I accept that subconsciously it might. So Arkham Horror is not a game I have actually played, I fancy it, but me and the Cthulhu mythos have never been quite on the same wavelength. I have never read any H.P. Lovecraft books, my first exposure to them was at a small convention in London when I was about 12, it was actually a convention for Corps of Drums, not even speculative fiction. Basically an older chap was reading a book and it lead into a discussion lead by a BAME person about the issues of racism in his work, and even the chap reading the book was pretty clear that there was some nasty racism in some of his work. As I said I have never read any, that discussion put me off, but I have read stuff by other authors, never a novel, usually short stories and played games set in the mythos. I have so many Cthulhu expansions for games that one would think I am a huge fan. I can play all of Munchkin Cthulhu, get all the references and jokes, but as I said never read a single Lovecraft story. It’s a gap in my knowledge that I am actually going to try and fill, I was recently gifted an audiobook of the complete fiction of Lovecraft, so am considering giving that a listen, but I will admit the racism is something that I will be on edge about. What is Arkham Horror Anyway that put to one side, let’s look at this book, by first looking at the game Arkham Horror which is a cooperative game, originally designed by Richard Launius, and is now in its third edition which was released in 2019. It’s published by Fantasy Flight Games, a subsidiary of Asmodee, and is set in 1926 in the town of Arkham, Massachusetts. Each player takes on the role of an investigator, who are working to stop the Ancient Ones, eldritch horrors which lurk in the void beyond space and time. It’s a 1-6 player game and you work together to gather clues and defeat the evil of the Ancient Ones and save the world. As I said I haven’t actually played Arkham Horror but I do own its spin off Elder Sign the cooperative dice game. The Story It’s a 1920 whodunit told mostly from the perspective of master thief Countess Alessandra Zorzi who arrives in the town of Arkham, hired by a mysterious cabal to steal a newly discovered mummy. The eldritch prologue sets you up for some occult horror, but the book largely steered clear of that, which given that the protagonist is not that familiar with the intricacies of the occult makes sense. The setting is deep and rich, with gangsters and bootleggers, all speaking with 1920s US slang. It’s a real atmospheric period piece that evokes the days of prohibition, with just a hint of eldritch terror and added tommy guns. Alessandra herself is a very three dimensional character and extremely well developed beyond the trope of the aristocratic thief. We see her backstory teased out over the book, learning more about her as we go though, and as I said, she is more than just the trope. Her driver Pepper was actually my favourite character in the story, they have their own secret, although this is revealed early on. They are full of spunk and as mentioned by a gangster they deal with, moxie. It’s a really fast paced book, that I literally devoured over two sittings, one that got me 20% of the way in and the rest in an evening that kept me reading until 3am! I was just utterly drawn in by the story with its twists and turns. As I said I haven’t played Arkham Horror, but I have played Elder Sign and I recognised lots of elements of that games story mechanics in this book. And given my surface knowledge of Lovecrafts work, I did recognise a few little nods to those within the story that will please those who are more familiar. There is a bit of a creep factor in there, and there were certainly bits that had my skin crawling just a little, but not so much to put me off. It’s very light in terms of horror, which makes it very accessible. Conclusion Personally I loved this book, it was a throughly enjoyable story which whilst grounded in the Cthulhu mythos, did not delve into it too deeply, nor did it require me to have more than passing knowledge. In fact I think if a layperson was to pick up this book and read it, they would get on with it perfectly fine without knowing a thing about the mythos. This book was great and for me it was a fantastic read. I particularly enjoyed a strong female protagonist who at no point needed any romantic entanglements, and the pulpy 1920s nature of the story was just delightful. I really hope that the countess and Pepper return to Arkham for some more adventures, this is kind of hinted at, but please Josh, do it!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Matt Midlock

    Fun and pulpy read. Not great but good. It's more of a mystery story than eldritch, Lovecraftian terror but if you know that going in, it's fine. The ending is pretty gruesome but it's like the last 50 pages. Overall a serviceable story but I would have preferred more horror.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Al Burke

    Review to come.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Scott Waldie

    Turns out Josh can write Lovecraftian horror for FFG’s Arkham Horror franchise just as well as he can handle his Warhammer fiction. Smart, detailed, and immersive pulp horror fun.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Russell Tassicker

    Review copy provided by the publisher. I'm familiar with Josh's work for Black Library but this is the first book I've read of his outside that range, and the first under the Arkham Horror banner. Wrath of N'Kai is a pulp adventure/thriller set in the titular American town of Arkham between the wars, starring gentlewoman-thief Alessandra Zorzi and a supporting cast of expected and unexpected characters. Bootleggers, detectives, professors, hoodlums, cultists and cabbies all make an appearance, bu Review copy provided by the publisher. I'm familiar with Josh's work for Black Library but this is the first book I've read of his outside that range, and the first under the Arkham Horror banner. Wrath of N'Kai is a pulp adventure/thriller set in the titular American town of Arkham between the wars, starring gentlewoman-thief Alessandra Zorzi and a supporting cast of expected and unexpected characters. Bootleggers, detectives, professors, hoodlums, cultists and cabbies all make an appearance, but the passages from the perspective of a being beyond mortal understanding are highlights. There are echoes of Indiana Jones here, both in the time period as well as the occult-archaeology of the piece's villains. Zorzi is more Belloq than Jones, however, as she is in the hunt for the artifact in question for mercenary motives only. She is a specialised thief servicing a high-class clientele of dabblers in historical curiosities. In Arkham to obtain a recently unearthed mummy, she quickly finds herself up against rivals willing to kill to secure it themselves, and with an employer positively eager to kill her if she should fail. While Zorzi's line of work makes her an ideal candidate to star in a potential series of pulp adventures, I found her sidekick Pepper to be the most compelling character. A recent arrival to Arkham who disguises her gender to work as a cab driver, she's well out of her depth both socially and esoterically but makes a great foil for our protagonist, and the character I most wanted to know more about after finishing. While there is a supernatural mystery for Zorzi to unravel and some unnerving moments, this was never a particularly horrifying tale. It plays into the tropes you might expect, but with just enough twists on them to keep things interesting. I felt a bit more could have been done to describe Arkham to me, if it's to be the setting of a series of books, though that may not be what's intended. As it is the Arkham of Arkham Horror feels a bit bare-bones. Overall I enjoyed it, particularly the character Pepper and seeing the point of view of a gribbly horror. I would have appreciated some more detail in the setting, but this did allow the plot to keep up a rollicking pace. If "Gentlewoman-thief and plucky cab driver plot to steal a mummy amongst a between-the-wars cast of socialites, gangsters, academics and cultists" sounds like a good time then I heartily recommend Wrath of N'Kai.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Michael Dodd

    Aconyte Books’ exploration of the world of Arkham Horror begins in fine style with Josh Reynolds’ Wrath of N’Kai, an entertainingly dark tale of a gentlewoman thief getting more than she bargained for. Countess Alessandra Zorzi has been commissioned to travel to Arkham, where a recently-discovered ancient American mummy is to be displayed, and steal it. What sounds like a relatively simple job, however, is complicated by the presence of an investigator from the insurance company underwriting the Aconyte Books’ exploration of the world of Arkham Horror begins in fine style with Josh Reynolds’ Wrath of N’Kai, an entertainingly dark tale of a gentlewoman thief getting more than she bargained for. Countess Alessandra Zorzi has been commissioned to travel to Arkham, where a recently-discovered ancient American mummy is to be displayed, and steal it. What sounds like a relatively simple job, however, is complicated by the presence of an investigator from the insurance company underwriting the exhibition, and the dawning realisation that there’s more going on than meets the eye in both Arkham’s criminal underworld and its wealthy upper class. What seems at first to be building up to a heist story quickly turns into much more of a mystery, as Alessandra’s plans are scuppered by the arrival of others who whisk the mummy away before she has the chance to make her move. Despite the Arkham Horror label this is more occult fantasy than outright horror, its pulp stylings perfectly suited to the 1920s America in which it takes place. The setting is heavily built upon the Lovecraftian mythos, but here that provides the backdrop to an evocative, entertaining mystery/adventure which stands on its own whether or not the reader is aware of Lovecraft or Arkham Horror already. Take away the monster(s), however, and you’d still be left with an enjoyable mystery to untangle, the sort of enjoyable, character-driven, personal-stakes story that Reynolds writes consistently well. It’s great fun, and hopefully not the last we’ve seen of Countess Alessandra Zorzi. Read the full review at https://www.trackofwords.com/2020/06/...

  9. 4 out of 5

    Sylri

    What a fun ride this book was! It has everything I could personally want in a Cthulhu Mythos adventure story - copious references to Lovecraft’s stories, a grisly mystery, the occult, evil sorcerers, and a healthy sprinkling of nasty Mythos monsters. It’s enough to make a girl like me swoon. And to top it all off it has a mummy! The Arkham Horror fiction line does a wonderful job walking the fine line where Lovecraft fans like me can appreciate all of their references to his Mythos while not excl What a fun ride this book was! It has everything I could personally want in a Cthulhu Mythos adventure story - copious references to Lovecraft’s stories, a grisly mystery, the occult, evil sorcerers, and a healthy sprinkling of nasty Mythos monsters. It’s enough to make a girl like me swoon. And to top it all off it has a mummy! The Arkham Horror fiction line does a wonderful job walking the fine line where Lovecraft fans like me can appreciate all of their references to his Mythos while not excluding those who are new to Lovecraft’s world. The liberal use of Arkham Horror’s game characters work the same way - fun usage of characters that fans of the game will enjoy while being just characters that fit into the narrative for those who aren’t familiar. The references don’t distract and won’t confuse those who haven’t read the stories, but rather just give you a sense of a larger universe that has many stories to tell. I loved all of the callbacks to Lovecraft’s The Mound. If you’ve read that story there are names and characters that will be very familiar, and I enjoyed every moment a certain recurring character would show up. I feel The Mound is a very underrated Lovecraft story and I’m glad to see it get some love here. You can really tell the author Josh Reynolds has a love for the source material. Wrath of N’kai has been one of my favorite reads of the year so far, and an excellent start to Arkham Horror’s new trilogy. I eagerly look forward to the next two books! My thanks to Netgalley for a review copy.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Annarella

    I could write a long paper about this book, full of blah blah but I want to be short: I loved this story and it was a lot of fun to read. Horror, action, adventure and great characters. I can only strongly recommend it. Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Adam Selby-Martin

    Wrath of N’kai Josh Reynolds Aconyte Books In the current climate, reading and reviewing horror titles really isn't doing it for me, if I'm being completely honest - I think I need to do some reading (and reviewing) of titles that aren't completely bound up in doom and gloom, and go for things that are at least slightly more upbeat in nature. A good way to start along that journey is to read the second Advanced Review Copy (ARC) I received from new publisher Aconyte Books: Wrath of N'Kai by Josh Re Wrath of N’kai Josh Reynolds Aconyte Books In the current climate, reading and reviewing horror titles really isn't doing it for me, if I'm being completely honest - I think I need to do some reading (and reviewing) of titles that aren't completely bound up in doom and gloom, and go for things that are at least slightly more upbeat in nature. A good way to start along that journey is to read the second Advanced Review Copy (ARC) I received from new publisher Aconyte Books: Wrath of N'Kai by Josh Reynolds, the first title in a new Arkham Horror series. This feels like it's going to act a sort of 'bridge' for me, a stepping-stone from the horror genre staples that are my bread and butter on this blog, to some science-fiction and perhaps even fantasy titles. I was a huge fan of the old Arkham Horror novels that came out about a decade or so ago, and was sad to see them go out of print and the brand seemingly go into retirement, so you can probably imagine just how excited I was to see that Aconyte Books had the license to start up a whole new series of Arkham Horror titles, starting with Wrath of N'Kai. The title is intriguing and suitably Lovecraftian in nature, and that gorgeous noirish front cover artwork, evoking the old 1930s and 1940s black and white films, is superlative work by illustrator Daniel Strange. In addition, Josh Reynolds is a brilliant writer who can twist and meld the occult detective genre to do weird and wonderful things, so I couldn't wait to get reading and see what this new iteration of Arkham Horror had to offer me as a reader. Just who - or more likely what - is N'Kai; and what form will their wrath take? After an unsettling, eldritch-drenched prologue that deftly sets up the background to the novel, and hints at some of the occult action to come in future chapters, we are introduced to our protagonist, Countess Alessandra Zorzi, international adventurer and thief. She's one of those occult detective characters that Reynolds is just so good at creating and then imbuing with unique and engaging attributes. Cool, calm and collected on the surface, but with her own fears and worries lurking just below it, she breezes through life as an aristocratic thief, stealing occult objects to the order of various clients. As the book opens, she's on the way to a new job - stealing a strange preserved body recently unearthed in Oklahoma, and to be presented at the Miskatonic Museum in the infamous town of Arkham. It's an unusual commission, especially as she's uncertain how he actually got in contact with her to deliver the request, but money is money and she has little choice but to travel to provincial Arkham, Massachusetts. Reynolds delivers a truly masterful depiction of Arkham and its ancient and often archaic architecture, as well as the constant, sinister air of wrongness that wreaths everything - the buildings, the weather, and most especially the people. He deftly builds up a picture of a slowly-expanding town in which modernity and antiquity clash, where everyone is hiding some sort of secret and no action, no matter how petty, is entirely innocent. There's a great Prohibition-era atmosphere that runs throughout the entire book that helps to underpin the plot and draws you into the mystery and the action, with the plot flowing smoothly between formal locations like museums and hotels, and dingy hideaway bars and even less salubrious (and far more dangerous) places. It's all artfully blended together to make something that is almost compulsively-readable. The truth of Arkham and its unique nature is slowly but surely revealed to Zorzi, as it becomes obvious that the strange figure she is meant to steal is an unusual presence, even in her line of work. The mummy and its bejeweled mask has a strange presence, an eerie atmosphere to it, which is perhaps why she has been hired to steal it for a group of interested observers. However before she can do much more than reconnoitre the museum, a gunfight breaks out as a group of robbers attempt to steal the mummy; in the process Zorzi makes the mistake of looking into the mummy's eyes, resulting in an unwanted, Lovecraftian-style look into the stygian depths of its memories. That results in a quick exit from the museum, but fleeing Arkham is impossible; she is pursued not just by the authorities, but also a strange, crooked creature swathed in a trench coat and possessing a terrifying face. Lacking options, Zorzi finds herself forced into pursuing the robbers and locating the mummy and its ancient secret. As well as a fast-paced plot that twists and turns and keeps you on your toes, there's also a nicely varied cast of characters that play with the tropes and stereotypes of the genre, and also the Arkham Horror game, while never being constrained by them. Reynolds successfully humanizes them, and as a result makes them interesting for the reader to follow along with. Zorzi is a enjoyable protagonist with a great suite of dry observations about American behaviours and attitudes, and surprising skills as a thief and investigator. She also has a fascinating backstory that's revealed in dribs and drabs by Reynolds, one that takes the usual genre cliche, being scarred by wartime service and twists into something fresh and unsettling. Then there's the dogged Abner Whitlock, investigator and 'fixer' for Argus Insurance, a blandly-titled company that has serious interests in occult items and occurrences. He's a dogged investigator who has a grudge against Zorzi and won't let her forget it, which adds an extra element of tension. Perhaps my favourite, however, was cab driver Pepper, someone with a deeply-hidden secret who becomes Zorzi's guide and side-kick throughout the novel, as well as another perspective to the occultism on display in Arkham. They have an invaluable knowledge of Arkham and its surroundings, as well as a good heart despite often being out of their depth; Reynolds himself perfectly describes then when he writes that they were "at once naive and hardboiled" and that duality comes through as the plot darkens. There are also a brace of antagonists who I won't go into to avoid any spoilers, but suffice to say they are highly competent, dangerous and terrifying in both their nature and the powers they wield, particularly the utterly inhuman N'Kai. Wrath of N'Kai is the brilliant result of the new partnership between Aconyte Books and Josh Reynolds, and it has all the hallmarks of a classic occult detective horror title. There's a cast of engaging, three-dimensional characters who belong to the genre tropes without being constrained by them; a deeply atmospheric setting in Arkham and its surroundings that Reynolds has skilfully developed; heaps of fist-swinging, gun-blazing action against human and inhuman foes alike; and finally, crucially, that stubborn, frantic and all too-human refusal to believe, truly believe, in the occult and supernatural until it is almost too late. But it's not just all of that which makes Wrath of N'Kai such an enjoyable novel: it's also that Reynolds obviously enjoyed writing it, and in doing so created an original title that feels like a game of Arkham Horror brought to life, while avoiding the common genre pitfalls of becoming predictable, or a mere pastiche of something greater. Ultimately, Wrath of N'Kai is yet more evidence, were it needed, that Reynolds is the reigning master of the occult detective genre. There is no-one who does it better, and Wrath of N'Kai should take pride of place in anyone's occult horror collection.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Lauren

    A mummy, bound and folded in on itself, its face covered with a mask like a cross between a bat and a toad, was discovered in a mound in Oklahoma and brought back to Arkham to be displayed , shown off. Taking a brief trip away from Europe to lie low after a job that nearly went wrong, Countess Alessandra Zorzi finds herself hired to acquire this most strange artifact from its display at Miskatonic Museum. She never has believed in any of the stories her clients have about the artifacts they send A mummy, bound and folded in on itself, its face covered with a mask like a cross between a bat and a toad, was discovered in a mound in Oklahoma and brought back to Arkham to be displayed , shown off. Taking a brief trip away from Europe to lie low after a job that nearly went wrong, Countess Alessandra Zorzi finds herself hired to acquire this most strange artifact from its display at Miskatonic Museum. She never has believed in any of the stories her clients have about the artifacts they send her after. As she finds herself haunted by night terrors of deep darkness and the things within it and her client’s ever more violent insistence that she recover the mummy, learning the truth might be her only chance at survival. Josh Reynolds’ Wrath of N’Kai is a book that I found myself simultaneously wanting to devour all at once and that I kept putting off finishing because I wanted it to keep going. The prose was just really tasty in a way that I leaves me still wanting more of it even after having waited a little while to write this because I wanted to write something other than just a bunch of fangirling. I adored Alessandra Zorzi as a protagonist. She hit just that right spot of being charming and treating the people around her well while also doing that because treating people well allows her a degree of social invisibility. She’s entirely delightful, in the way that protagonists who are distinctly morally grey can be and it’s a lot of fun to see this very Lovecraftian setting through the eyes of a character who does not believe in any of it. This extends to all of the notable characters. They’re all well written and feel really well thought out. Pepper, the cabbie turned a major source of assistance for Alessandra, was a stand out for me. The insurance guy, Whitlock, was also a solid inclusion adding a much more mundane concern than the mummy eating cultists. In addition to the present of the story, the reader is given enough about Alessandra’s past exploits to know that Alessandra is extremely capable, that she is good at being a thief of the strange with wide reaching contacts and years of experience. The writing shows her being confident and competent and that makes any moment where something puts her in danger feel properly dangerous. I never found myself thinking that a threat felt less because it was directed at the protagonist rather than a side character. The use of nightmares and physical revulsion to boost the tension added an almost visceral element to the danger. Like something lurking all around waiting for Alessandra to stumble across it, not a physical danger like the cultists or her mysterious client, but a complement to it from within. The setting work and the moments where things go just a bit wrong with swimming shadows and Alessandra being thrown off balance are fantastic. All of that leads to a novel with prose that I found absolutely delicious. I found myself going back over passages just because of how well they landed for me. I started reading Wrath of N’Kai with certain genre based expectations of how things would play out. Those expectations rubbed up against the nature of the book as a tie in to the Arkham Horror games in a way that felt fun and left me wanting several more books with these characters and more from the franchise as a whole. I found myself not only wanting to read more of Reynolds’ work but also wanting to dig into the table top game and pull my friends along for the ride. For me, Wrath of N’Kai earns a five out of five. I was given an ebook copy of Wrath of N'kai through netGalley for honest review. This has not effected my review in any way.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Mike

    "Wrath of N'Kai" by Joshua Reynolds is part of the "Arkham Horror" series of books. "Arkham Horror" is a board game based on the "Cthulhu Mythos" works of author H.P. Lovecraft. The "Arkham Horror" board game is the basis for multiple games from Fantasy Flight Games (now owned by Asmodee). So..."Wrath of N'Kai" is a book about a universe from a series of games based on a series of books and short stories--most of which are nearly a century old. Is that "meta" enough for you? Arkham, Massachusetts "Wrath of N'Kai" by Joshua Reynolds is part of the "Arkham Horror" series of books. "Arkham Horror" is a board game based on the "Cthulhu Mythos" works of author H.P. Lovecraft. The "Arkham Horror" board game is the basis for multiple games from Fantasy Flight Games (now owned by Asmodee). So..."Wrath of N'Kai" is a book about a universe from a series of games based on a series of books and short stories--most of which are nearly a century old. Is that "meta" enough for you? Arkham, Massachusetts is a town where bad things happen. The barriers there are very thin between our world and hellish dimensions filled with nightmarish monsters and the horrid gods they worship. There are plenty of weird cultists, occult practitioners, and outright lunatics messing with forces beyond the understanding of mere mortals in Arkham (and the surrounding environs). There are also plenty of vile and dangerous creatures lurking in the shadows of Arkham, ready to prey on the unwary. And as most of "Arkham Horror"-related tales are set during Prohibition (including this one), there are plenty of unscrupulous and well-armed bootleggers and gangsters roaming Arkham as well. In "Wrath of N'Kai," we meet a new hero--Countess Alessandra Zorzi. She's a professional thief, a fashionable young woman with a cloak of old-world respectability. She is hired to steal the first American mummy, found recently in Oklahoma, and on display in Arkham. But things in Arkham are seldom as they seem. More than one person/entity has designs on this very peculiar mummy--and what is inside of it. Before the Countess can steal the mummy for herself, calamity strikes! The Countess soon finds herself hunted by many different factions in Arkham, including the forces of law and order, as she searches the darkest corners of Arkham for her prize. Like many of the other "Arkham Horror" books, this one straddles the line between the old-school detective and old-school horror brands/genres of pulp fiction. Several playable characters from the "Arkham Horror" series of games make minor appearances or are mentioned in passing. What is N'Kai? N'kai is an underground realm deep beneath the American Midwest. A race of monstrous beings lives in a city called K'n-yan under the earth and worship a bloated god called Tsathoggua, who lives in the lightless realm of N'Kai. Tsathoggua is bat-like and toad-like and immense. It is known as "the Sleeper of N'Kai." Its servants are Formless Spawn. And the mummy, which was discovered near an entrance to N'Kai, was NOT meant to be disturbed. "Wrath of N'Kai" is a solid story and a fun read. The author has some playful moments as well. The Countess's driver and companion, Pepper, works as an Arkham cabbie. Pepper's boss is a short, fat, obnoxious guy named DePalma--which is an obvious reference to Danny DeVtio on the "Taxi" TV show from the 70s. And it is mentioned briefly that the Countess once stole a book about rare orchids for an "orchid man" in New York. That was very likely an oblique Nero Wolfe reference. You don't need to be a fan of the "Arkham Horror" series of games or even of H.P. Lovecraft (though it would probably help your understanding of the material) to enjoy "Wrath of N'Kai."

  14. 5 out of 5

    Simon Roadhouse

    Thank you to Aconyte Books for providing me with an advance review copy. Wrath of N’kai is the newest novel set in the Arkham Horror universe by Fantasy Flight Games, and the first from Acontye Books. For those that remain blissfully unaware of the ancient things that lurk in the shadows, the Arkham Horror universe is set primarily in 1920s America and based largely on the works of H.P Lovecraft and his Cthulhu Mythos. Wrath of N'kai follows the European thief Countess Alessandra Zorzi who is hire Thank you to Aconyte Books for providing me with an advance review copy. Wrath of N’kai is the newest novel set in the Arkham Horror universe by Fantasy Flight Games, and the first from Acontye Books. For those that remain blissfully unaware of the ancient things that lurk in the shadows, the Arkham Horror universe is set primarily in 1920s America and based largely on the works of H.P Lovecraft and his Cthulhu Mythos. Wrath of N'kai follows the European thief Countess Alessandra Zorzi who is hired by a mysterious employer to steal a recently excavated mummy found in middle America. During her visit to the public showing of the mummy in Arkham, a third party crashes the party and steals the mummy at gunpoint. Helped by her trusty cabbie, Pepper, Zorzi must hunt down the thieves and the mummy and reclaim it for her employer. What follows is a dive into the occult and the weird goings on in the city of Arkham. Alessandra is a very strong willed, competent woman who isn't afraid to speak her mind. Written primarily from her perspective, what begins as a routine job quickly descends into something far more sinister the longer she stays in Arkham. As I mentioned, this touches on the fringes of Lovecraft's Mythos. Elder gods and lore are there, but not well explored which works very well as Alessandra, at the start, has no idea that things, in Arkham, do go bump in the night. This book was a joy to read. Josh Reynolds has made a very enjoyable story that touches the fringes of Lovecraft's Mythos whilst still being inclusive to those that aren't aware of the world Lovecraft created from either his books or Fantasy Flight Games card and board games.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Erica

    Objectively speaking, this is a stellar book. I enjoy the way Josh Reynolds has of writing, it's an era which I'm very fond of, the plot is interesting and the characters are well written, but subjectively, I feel like there's something missing. I'm not a big fan of H.P. Lovecraft . I haven't read much and with the exception of The Case of Charles Dexter Ward, which is to this day one of my favorite horror stories, I can't say that what I have read was all that interesting. The concept of eld Objectively speaking, this is a stellar book. I enjoy the way Josh Reynolds has of writing, it's an era which I'm very fond of, the plot is interesting and the characters are well written, but subjectively, I feel like there's something missing. I'm not a big fan of H.P. Lovecraft . I haven't read much and with the exception of The Case of Charles Dexter Ward, which is to this day one of my favorite horror stories, I can't say that what I have read was all that interesting. The concept of eldritch gods should be something that really appeals to me, but Lovecraftiana is too abstract, too fuzzy and undefined to be interesting or scary. And that is my "issue" with Wrath of N'Kai as well. Like I said, objectively this is a good story, and I think that the author is very adept at writing - I liked the little easter egg homages to Lovecraft hidden here and there - and I think that for those who love Lovecraft's imagination, this will be a treat.

  16. 4 out of 5

    William M.

    I love the Arkham Horror boardgames and the Cthulhu mythos created by HP Lovecraft, so I was very excited to read this next group of books. However, the first two thirds of Wrath of N'kai felt too slow, with virtually nothing involving the supernatural or any mythos. Where was the atmosphere? Where was the impending dread? Nearly 200 pages was nothing but a mystery about who stole a mummy, with the protagonist moving from one location to another, interviewing countless uninteresting characters a I love the Arkham Horror boardgames and the Cthulhu mythos created by HP Lovecraft, so I was very excited to read this next group of books. However, the first two thirds of Wrath of N'kai felt too slow, with virtually nothing involving the supernatural or any mythos. Where was the atmosphere? Where was the impending dread? Nearly 200 pages was nothing but a mystery about who stole a mummy, with the protagonist moving from one location to another, interviewing countless uninteresting characters about their connection to the theft. To be fair, the action kicks in near the end, but it was too little, too late. This book almost seemed as if it was written as a standard mystery that author Josh Reynolds made adjustments to in order for it to fit into the Arkham Horror landscape. The writing itself was smooth and Reynolds is clearly a solid writer, but he needed a better editor and a premise that fit better into Lovecraft's playground. While it was not a bad read, it is not something I would recommend.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Christoph Weber

    Not a bad read. It's not in Lovecraft-style, but plays in Arkham 1920ies, doing a horror-styled crime story. Did drag a bit towards the end when some things became clear yet some running around still had to be done.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Paulo Jorge

    Good pulp fiction around the Arkham Horror mythos. Easy to read and fast paced.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Josh Dormammu

    This book inspired me to buy the complete Taxi collection on DVD, no joke.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Matt

    Advance e-copy provided free by the publisher. An enjoyable and effective mix of horror and whodunnit, although the former elements are better-written than the latter. There's a refreshingly light touch with the Lovecraftian take on terror, making it all the more effective when it rears its amorphous, squishy head. The mystery elements work less well, involving a confusing plethora of minor characters and a clunky lull in the middle of the plot. It feels like it might have benefitted from being sl Advance e-copy provided free by the publisher. An enjoyable and effective mix of horror and whodunnit, although the former elements are better-written than the latter. There's a refreshingly light touch with the Lovecraftian take on terror, making it all the more effective when it rears its amorphous, squishy head. The mystery elements work less well, involving a confusing plethora of minor characters and a clunky lull in the middle of the plot. It feels like it might have benefitted from being slightly shorter and some tighter editing. Major characters are handled well, particularly the protagonist and her sidekick and the book evokes the atmosphere and history of the 1920's. Some nice metaphors worked in, too. It all helps to make this an enjoyable read that makes good, sparing use of the Cthulhu mythos rather than wallowing in its tired stereotypes.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Matthew Wilcox

  22. 4 out of 5

    Jordan West

  23. 4 out of 5

    Scott Malthouse

  24. 4 out of 5

    Jakub Sládek

  25. 4 out of 5

    Steven

  26. 4 out of 5

    Edward Thomas

  27. 5 out of 5

    Ron Eby

  28. 5 out of 5

    Sean

  29. 4 out of 5

    Seth

  30. 4 out of 5

    Daniel

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