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The Book of the Smoke
The Book of the Smoke The Investigator’s Guide to Occult London By Paula Dempsey
Written as a companion for Trail of Cthulhu by Pelgrane Press
Written by Augustus Darcy, scholar and investigator and member of the ‘Brotherhood’ (we don’t know which one), this book is a guide to London’s occult history commissioned for a private client, the finished manuscript (that which you dear reader now hold in your hands) was only made available after Augustus’s death. This book really does read like a 1930’s field manual, a guide to the city for any member of the Brotherhood that may wish to visit the order’s temple in the Strand. This book is an Ennies gold medal winner (2012) and in this reviewers opinion it was a no brainer and justly deserved, now let me tell you why.
The book is broken down into ‘Places’, areas within London, from the City to Westminster, Wandsworth to the East End, Battersea to Kensington and many more in between. Each of the ‘places’ has been broken down into specific areas of interest and each has been looked at by Augustus, rumours followed, folklore researched, madmen listened to and myths poked with a long investigative stick. Below are a few tasters of what can be found.
Cannabalistic inmates at Newgate prison
Public black mass held at Mary-le-Bow (and an interesting theory as to why those born within the bells are called Cockneys)
Ratmen living in the sewers breeding with the normal folk above
Doctors at Kings College Hospital swearing secrecy about tentacles being removed from healthy young women
The ghosts of Anne Boleyn and Lady Jane Grey at Tower Hill
Hidden underground stations set up as temples to long forgotten Egyptian gods
There are many, many such entries in this journal, you really will have trouble putting the book down. However! this is not a campaign sourcebook, Paula brilliantly plants a seed in your imagination then feeds and waters it. Things are hinted at and quickly dropped before moving on.
Paula slowly strokes your face, breaths gently on your neck then just as you move in for the kiss you so desperately want, she slams the door in your face. I cannot stress enough how good this is and how well it works at firing your imagination. This book makes me want to play Trail of Cthulhu, a game of which i have no previous interest, it makes me want to stroll the fog enshrouded streets of London……..
And i want Paula Dempsey to take me by the hand and lead the way 😈
This book is brilliant and a fab source of inspiration for any player/keeper of Lovecraftian games.
Reviewed by Mick Red