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The Throne of Bones

4.01  ·  Rating details ·  444 ratings  ·  46 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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4.01  · 
Rating details
 ·  444 ratings  ·  46 reviews

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Oct 11, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Feb 14, 2007 rated it it was amazing
"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
Sep 29, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Jun 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
A very well done collection of 10 interconnected, dark fantasy stories. I typically would not seek out fantasy type reads, but I have been meaning to get to this one for a long time. It was surprisingly funny with plenty of gore and much “darker” than “fantasy”.

Bring out the ghouls!
Nov 16, 2008 rated it did not like it
Shelves: abandoned
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. I knew what to expect so the gore was not surprising, and I'm typically not squeamish anyway. I definitely l ...more
Gregor Xane
Apr 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2012
This thing just needs to be read.
Apr 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
A loosely-linked collection of short stories (one of which is, itself, a novel-length loosely-linked collection of short stories) in the tradition of Clark Ashton Smith or of Lovecraft's Dreamlands stories (especially the more ghoul-heavy portions of Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath) but turned up to NC-17.

Contains RDA of three of your four basic necros: -mancy, -phagy and -philia. (n.b. I'm not sure what the fourth necro would be.)
Apr 19, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Picked this up on a recommendation for a horror book with strong fantasy elements. The stories are about unfortunate humans who stumble upon or in many cases seek out the kingdom of the Ghouls. Who wouldn't like more stories about ghouls? I was pretty excited getting into it because the writing is really good. However, I became disgusted by the explicit bucket list of sexual depravity (rape, sodomy, bestiality, incest, and of course necrophelia) that seemed to be a part of every story that I end ...more
Arun Divakar
Jul 11, 2016 rated it liked it
Every so often there is a book that I chance upon which does not hesitate even a bit in grabbing hold of me and shoving me headlong down pathways that I never dared venture.Sure I call myself a fan of horror as a genre but am I deeply read in the genre ? Well since you put it that Look at the standard props in horror that borders fantasy and there is an outpouring of certain cliches : vampires, werewolves, witches et al which are now no more scary. There was however one such deniz ...more
Aug 18, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This is a very shallow, meaningless and worthless book. There are some parts that are interesting, but one can not ignore the fact that this book is not horror, but the most disgusting kind of porn - necrophilia - disguised as horror. And the erotic parts are not just bad, they are extremely juvenile, the kind of daydreaming that you'd expect from a 15 year old, hormone driven boy. From a supposedly 'grown up' author, I expected a lot more. I did not expect a literary masterpiece, not even some ...more
May 14, 2014 rated it it was ok
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.
Newton Nitro
Jul 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
Finalmente encarei o livro que foi vencedor do World Fantasy Award de 2000, e que tem dado o que falar nos fóruns de fãs fanáticos por Dark Fantasy, ou melhor ULTRA-DARK FANTASY que visito ocasionalmente. Brian McNaughton é uma espécie de autor cult e lenda entre os fãs de horror e fantasia sombria, e eu tinha que conhecer o trabalho desse mestre! :)

Throne of Bones - Brian McNaughton | #fantasia #horror #darkfantasy #resenha | 288 páginas, Wildside Press,1997 | Lido de 12.07.17 a 15.07.17

Call it a 3.5. Dark fantasy is a bit hard to put a finger on. It's not Lovecraftian fantasy, as it tends away from Lovecraft's combination of real world science and undefinable horror. It's different from the "gritty" trend of current fantasy in that it's more likely to embrace magic and monsters than any sense of realism. And it's not quite gothic either, though it certainly tends towards a lot of the tropes--gothic, generally, requires a certain touch of real world approach as well. A sort of ...more
Sep 07, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
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
Jan 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, horror
"How could such things be?"

Brian McNaughton's World Fantasy Award-winning collection of mordant epic horror tales, The Throne of Bones (1997), is set in a world of decadent cities like Crotalorn (home of the Dreamers’ Hill necropolis), Sythiphore (home of piscine eroticists), and Fandragord (home of evil) where aristocrats, scholars, cultists, poets, prostitutes, barbarians, necromancers, the undead, ghouls, and the like pursue love, art, life, and death. The stories read like a meld of Clark A
Dec 16, 2009 rated it it was ok
Shelves: e-book, anthology, horror, 2010
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
Grant Hayward
May 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Absolutely brilliant writing, with terribly horrific stories.

Definitely not for the faint of heart or squeamish.

I love the dark world he creates to surround the ghouls, and the entire ghoul ethos in itself is fascinating. Somehow the author repeatedly makes you cringe throughout the book, but his beautiful language just draws you in so you want him to continue making you cringe.
Nov 01, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Very refreshing.
Oct 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I love this book!
Oct 15, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I really gave this book my best shot, and kept forcing myself to not give up on it. But around page 300 I just had to call it quits. I bought it because my favorite author, Edward Lee said McNaughton was one of his hugest influences in a recent interview. I thought I would be onto something epic. The art work was incredible, the cover and tons sprinkled through out the book. The rest, was just so difficult of a read. I really appreciated the concept (Ghouls & Necrophilia C'mon!), but It was ...more
Randy Money
Aug 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is a terrific collection that is more than the sum of its parts. McNaughton was writing in the tradition of Clark Ashton Smith and if he wasn't the stylist Smith was, he was expert at deploying his story elements and bringing the story to a satisfying conclusion. The title story, in particular, is excellent, weird and creepy and often funny with a graveyard humor -- if someone brings up the topic of excellent late 20th century short fantasy, this is a title that should be considered.
Feb 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
The Throne of Bones is a collection of short stories by Brian McNaughton in a generally horror genre. As Alan Rodgers says in the Introduction, it is more of a Fantasy Horror in the vein of J.R.R. Tolkien. All of the stories take place in the same general geographical location, which works well to tie all of the stories together. However, each story takes place at a different place in time. They are more or less in chronological order to avoid confusion. Most of the stories are centered on ghoul ...more
Tazio Bettin
Nov 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing
The contrast between the sheer gruesomeness of the subject and the beauty of the prose make this book quite unique. It has the exquisite elegance of Lovecraft's best pose, albeit with a clearly more modern tint, and it's an absolute pleasure to read. Unless reading about people having sex with corpses and/or eating them repels you too strongly. This book doesn't pull punches when it comes to describing the most brutal scenes. It starts with a supernatural horror story which is disquieting but no ...more
Apr 21, 2017 rated it it was ok
These two stars reflect my liking of the very first story, delectable gothick fantasy redolent of Rappaccini's Daughter, as well as of Wayne June's typically superb narration. Rest of it tho, I found to be godawful. Ugliness for ugliness' sake, gross out fantasy that reads as if written by 90s teenager for 90s teenagers. Prose is unremarkable, stories fully subservient to their overwhelming scatological element. No artistry, no purpose or message to it. Even the disgust eventually vanishes, to b ...more
Shannon Dale
Sep 01, 2015 rated it really liked it
One thing they don't mention in the reviews that I've read is that there is a lot of sex in this book...and not sweet, romantic love - making. This book makes Game of Thrones look innocent.

However, if that doesn't bother you, or you can get past it, I think it's a great book. The stories are creative. The character names are amazing. Everything sort of links together. The author clearly had an incredible imagination.

I did find it a tad long. There were two short stories that I found a bit bori
Ryan Crampton
May 31, 2015 rated it it was amazing
To be honest i'd never heard of Brian McNaughton prior to reading a review on goodreads so when i came across a copy of this in my local second hand bookstore i thought i'd give it a go. I was not disappointed, while some other reviewers have accused the book of being full of gratuitous sex and violence (and there is plenty of both i admit) i never found it unnecessary to the development of the plot. A masterpiece of world building and winner of the world fantasy award winner (a sure sign of qua ...more
Nov 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
With this being a collection of short stories my usual format of setting, characters, and plot would be a bit over long if I did that for each individual story. The setting is the same (mostly) throughout the collection, so I will describe that but I will not be going into characters and plot for every individual story.

The vast majority of the stories in this book take place in a city surrounding a massive graveyard. The graveyard, and to some extent the entire city, has a nasty little s
Jordan Maier
Amazing. Best narrator-book match I have encountered on audible. I cant say anything better than what's already been said, positive-wise, about this book so that's what I will add to the convo: listen to this on audible. It is delightfully acted by Wayne June. His range of voices for characters is unmatched and that, paired with the uniquely nbn aimed cast if characters and places, is delectable! I dont think I've ever bhhh ad as much fun listening to a book than I did here. If you dont mind Gho ...more
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Brian McNaughton was an American writer of horror and fantasy fiction who mixed sex, satire and black humour. He also wrote thrillers.
“She screamed now. She raved. She raged through the tomb, strewing bones in her wake, tearing limbs and heads from desiccated bodies. She hated the dead. She hated the living even more, those who had abandoned her and still breathed the open air.” 1 likes
“Goul or ghul, in Arabic, signifies any terrifying object which deprives people of the use of their senses; hence it became the appellative of that species of monster which was supposed to haunt forests, cemeteries, and other lonely places, and believed not only to tear in pieces the living, but to dig up and devour the dead.” 1 likes
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