The Throne of Bones
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The Throne of Bones

4.18 of 5 stars 4.18  ·  rating details  ·  170 ratings  ·  19 reviews
Imagine earthy Tolkienesque characters in a setting full of cemeteries, graverobbers, necromancers, corpse-eaters--even a huge labyrinthine necropolis. Imagine mephitic gardens where the sarcophage, selenotrope, and necrophilium bloom. Then throw in star-crossed lovers, crazed zealots, stalwart heroes, bloodthirsty renegade armies, hideous monsters, and likeable misfits. Y...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published August 20th 2000 by Wildside Press (first published 1997)
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Oct 12, 2012 knig rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to knig by: mark monday
Shelves: 2012, bizarro, quirky
Finished packing for a jolly abroad at 3 am: that’s a preposterous hour to finish anything, too late to sleep, too early to get up. Read a book, then. Never mind that I have my own Pisa book stack teetering over right next to my bed: that’s just, too…..reasonable, and not grumpy at all, one needs to throw ones weight around somehow, at 3 am in the morning. Soooo, kindle download: Brian McNaughton’s Throne of Bones (just to give Mark a chance to redeem himself).

Looks, feels, and reads like a Love...more
"Throne of Bones" is a masterpiece of dark fantasy. The book contains a collection of short stories and one novella, all of which take place in the same rich and seedy world of Brian McNaughton's Seelura: a place of sprawling urban secrets and decay, of necromancy and lust, of unfulfilled dreams and star-crossed love. Shades of Jack Vance, Clark Ashton Smith and H.P. Lovecraft are to be found in McNaughton's work, yet he manages to capture a vibrant grasp of humanity in his writing that none of...more
S.E. Lindberg
Fresh, Disturbing Escapism

I am biased toward enjoying provocative fantasy/horror, and Throne of Bones delivers a pleasantly disturbing escape that is too shocking for young adults. The first tale, Ringard and Dendra, admittedly should prove digestible to many. Less so are the next six stories, which are a connected set (the titular Throne of Bones sequence) and should prove weird and jarring even to mature dark fantasy readers (can you say "ghoul erotica"?). Here, the timid and disoriented may...more
Inspired by such classics as Smith, Howard and Lovecraft, McNaughton creates a unique bizarre grotesque and spellbinding world populated with the much ignored monsters that are ghouls. This book won a fantasy award, but the author blends genres and there is plenty of horror in here for horror fans. This is a collection of interconnected stories set in an unnamed place and time, yet they are written with fairly modern dialogue and teriffic sporadic humor. Vivid descriptions and good pacing make t...more
This book was loaned to me long ago with rave reviews and was then lost in the vast pile of books in my study. When I found it again last week, I finally gave it a go. I can understand from an academic perspective why this fellow is lauded as a gifted writer and one of the greats in his genre, this title in particular being considered as foundational for ghouls as Dracula is for vampires, and I knew what to expect so the gore was not surprising. I rather liked the first story in this collection,...more
Gregor Xane
This thing just needs to be read.
Michael Thorn
A really great addition to the Mythos. I'd heard good things about the ghouls in this book, and I was not disappointed. What I got from this book was so much more. McNaughton is a worthy successor to H.P. Lovecraft and Clark Ashton Smith with a more modern and visceral take on the mythos.

The setting is pseudo-medieval/pseudo-industrial with hints of "modern" (circa 1997) language. I found the book very accessible with a nice mix of the fantastic along with grounding in the real world. The collec...more
This book's got everything. Ghouls, vampires, ghosts, witches, necrophilia, pedophilia, incest, cannibalism, rape... Man, I could go on listing stuff. But I won't, read it and find out for yourself.

It's hard rating a compilation of stories, even if they're all from the same author. In my perspective this books is made of "The Throne of Bones" (main long story) and lots of filler (other short stories). The way stories intertwined going back and forward on 'The Throne of Bones' section was interes...more
Mr McNaughton in this book has managed to suffuse the worlds of his influences with enough of his own vision that it stands apart, alone, atop the hill built of the skeletons of works that came before him. It is not easy to take the characters and situations of his forebears, especially one Old Gent from providence, and give them your own voice. The tales in this book more than accomplish that goal. I read the book once, and couldn't believe that it was that good, so I had to go through it again...more
Patrick D'Orazio
Its obvious that I discovered this book long after many, but I am glad that I did. What a pleasurable trip down a macabre highway this set of short stories turned out to be!
I have to say, without trying to sound schticky, that McNaughton does for Ghouls what Romero does for Zombies. And yes, these two beastie types are distinctly different. I have never experienced anything ghoulish in writing and this book serves as an excellent primer on the subject.
In addition to several ghoulish stories we...more
I'm torn on this book.
I loved the writing style, the way the stories were put together and how most of them formed one cohesive world.
There's some wonderful and unique ideas in the book about how ghoulism works, the idea of becoming what you eat, the treatment of souls, etc.
But there's also some horrible ideas -- oddly enough, I found the necrophilia to be less disturbing than the repeated allusions to/actions of rape.
I guess I'm just more used to horror writers that work with atmosphere rather...more
The Throne of Bones, in my opinion, is the best book on Ghouls ever written, and in a very Klarkashtonian style. I've read it several times now, and have enjoyed it more each time.
Sep 26, 2011 Bill added it
This book... on the one hand, for a book of short fantasy/horror stories, it's about the best thing I can ever recall reading. I really wish I could bother describing why right now. Oh well.

On the other hand, there is a lot of corpse sex and eating in there. Because it's about ghouls.

So there you go: if you like the idea of reading a fair number of stories that hinge on ghouls eating brains and turning into people, or if you're all right with that and just like to read good fantasy/horror writi...more
Nathan Boy
This book is so disturbing in parts that I hesitate to recommend it. Well-written and remarkable.
Read it because an author I respect recommended it. In the end it came off as gory and gross for the sake of shock rather than contributing to the story. Well written just not very engaging.
Justin Howe
Fantasy short stories for fans of Jack Vance, Clark Ashton Smith, and Fritz Leiber. Not so much grimdark as morbid and blackly comic.
Stephanie Manson
This is some crazy, twisted, dark stuff....but a damned entertaining read.
Very Dark, somewhat sexy, horror thriller. I enjoyed it greatly.
Very refreshing.
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