Out of the Dark


Published in 2018 by HarperCollins.

Robert William Chambers’ The King in Yellow (1895) has long been recognised as a landmark work in the field of the macabre, and has been described as the most important work of American supernatural fiction between Poe and the moderns. Despite the book’s success, its author was to return only rarely to the genre during the remainder of a writing career which spanned four decades.

When Chambers did return to the supernatural, however, he displayed all the imagination and skill which distinguished The King in Yellow. He created the enigmatic and seemingly omniscient Westrel Keen, the ‘Tracer of Lost Persons’, and chronicled the strange adventures of an eminent naturalist who scours the earth for ‘extinct’ animals – and usually finds them. One of his greatest creations, perhaps, was 1920’s The Slayer of Souls, which features a monstrous conspiracy to take over the world: a conspiracy which can only be stopped by supernatural forces.

For the first time in a single volume, Hugh Lamb has selected the best of the author’s supernatural tales, together with an introduction which provides further information about the author who was, in his heyday, called ‘the most popular writer in America’.


Introduction – Hugh Lamb
The Yellow Sign
A Pleasant Evening
In the Court of the Dragon
The Maker of Moons
The Mask
The Demoiselle D’Ys
The Key to Grief
The Messenger

Introduction – Hugh Lamb
Out of the Depths
Un Peu D’Amour
Grey Magic
In Search of the Great Auk
The Death of Yarghouz Khan
The Sign of Venus
The Third Eye
The Seal of Solomon
The Bridal Pair
In Search of the Mammoth
Death Trail
The Case of Mr Helmer


There were some [stories] I didn’t like so well, mainly the early King in Yellow ones and the three extracts Lamb has included from Chambers’ most famous novel, The Slayer of Souls, which I didn’t feel worked as standalone stories. But the majority got either four or five stars and several of them are stories I will undoubtedly read again. Maybe he’s better known than I think, but personally I had never heard of him till recently. I wondered if perhaps his sheer variety of style means that he’s difficult to pigeon-hole and so gets overlooked, but on the basis of these stories I feel he certainly deserves to be remembered and read. Highly recommended!

Amazon Reviewer
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This is a collection of 22 stories or extracts which, although the collection is part of a horror range, cross through a variety of genres. My previous experience of Robert W Chambers, amounting to one short collection of four stories, The King in Yellow, had left me rather underwhelmed, so I had fairly low expectations going into this. Yet again, I was proved wrong! The quality and range of the stories here and their general enjoyability made me appreciate why Chambers was a best-selling author of his day…

Goodreads Reviewer

Other Editions

Hardcover – Published in 1998 by Ash-Tree Press

Hardcover – Published in 1999 by Ash Tree Press

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