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The Elder Ice

(Harry Stubbs #1)

3.92  ·  Rating details ·  264 ratings  ·  54 reviews
Lovecraftian weird fiction set in 1920s London.

In this atmospheric novella, ex-boxer Harry Stubbs is on the trail of a mysterious legacy. A polar explorer has died, leaving huge debts and hints of a priceless find. His informants seem to be talking in riddles, and Harry soon finds he isn't the only one on the trail -- and what he's looking for is as lethal as it is valuabl
Kindle Edition, 88 pages
Published January 15th 2018 by Crossroad Press (first published August 1st 2014)
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Average rating 3.92  · 
Rating details
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Philip Allan
Written in the style of an inter-war novella, The Elder Ice introduces the reader to former boxer, now debt collector, Harry Stubbs in the South London suburb of Norwood. He is an engaging character, underestimated by most of those he meets, but with a dogged determination to get to the bottom of things. An apparently routine investigation into the considerable debts left by the late Polar explorer Ernest Shackleton, leads him into a strange world of mythical ancient civilisations and extraordin ...more
Montzalee Wittmann
Sep 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The Elder Ice: A Harry Stubbs Adventure
By: David Hambling
Narrated by: Brian J. Gill
Series: The Harry Stubbs Adventures, Book 1
Terrific adventure of Harry trying to solve a mystery but there is more to this then he was told! If you like steam-punkish, 1920's London story with supernatural elements, this might be for you! I enjoyed it. A great first book to meet Harry and introduce the series.
The narration was excellent for this type of book!
ᴥ Irena ᴥ
Mar 21, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
This particular premise is always a plus where I am concerned.

In The Elder Ice an ex-boxer Harry Stubbs is working for a law firm that is trying to sort out the estate of Sir Ernest Shackleton. Stubbs is their investigator of sorts. The whole book revolves around a question whether the adventurer had discovered something on his expedition to Antarctica.
The rare horrors you see here are pretty good, but you don't get too many chances to be afraid for the protagonist.
A longer The Elder Ice would
J.N. Bedout
Nov 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
The plot advances quickly in this pre-war mystery set in the early 20th century. The action starts with a bizarre death then proceeds through a sequence of scenes to deepen the odd nature of the quest. Harry Stubbs, a debt collector, is seeking to recuperate property from an Antarctic expedition, and his path leads him on a collision course with these strange events. The details of the polar escapades drip from evidence left behind, like anecdotes, texts, and artifacts. This part really enriched ...more
Oct 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobooks
Full review is here, on my blog!~

Well then. This was a very short audiobook (only coming in at about 3 hours) so this review is probably going to be pretty short as well!

This follows the exploits of Harry Stubbs, a former boxer and now solicitor who specializes in collecting on debts. He ends up following quite a mystery after investigating a rumor that Ernest Shackleton, despite being very much in debt at the time of his death, had found and brought back something priceless on one of his earli
Meh. I wanted to like this one since I'm a big fan of Lovecraft's Mountains of Madness, but it just never gelled for me. And that's too bad, because Hambling can write. The prose is smooth, the (too) infrequent horrors are pretty good, the main character, an ex-boxer named Stubbs, has a two-fisted Victor McLuaghlin charm. But in the end, that's not enough since everything just seemed so Baker Street in tone, which doesn't actually fit the post WW I timing of the story. I did like how Hambling an ...more
Mercedes Rochelle
Dec 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
Harry Stubbs sucks us into his universe in first person POV, which delightfully leaves us in the dark as he tries to figure out what dangerous mission he has gotten himself into. An ex-boxer who has risen from thug-style debt-collecting to almost legitimate investigative work for an attorney, Stubbs is not afraid of the underworld. But his current job has brought him more than he bargained for, as would-be assassins end up dead with unexplained injuries and mysterious forces terrorize the neighb ...more
Queen Terrible Timy
Full review with personal notes as usual:

Harry Stubbs, ex-boxer works his way up from debt collector to clerk in a law firm with his persistence and will as steel. He doesn’t have high ambitions, or extraordinary intelligence, but he is a hard worker and sets reachable goals for himself and has a curiosity which gets him through the not-so-exciting part of his job: writing reports. His current case leads him to investigate the late adventurer, Ernest Shac
Laura Koerber
Sep 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: my-book
I am giving this book five stars because it succeeds so well at it’s aim: a fantasy with period flavor and an interesting, appealing main character, presented as first in a series. In fact, this book was so successful with me that I have already read the second book and am part way through the third. Another series for me to follow!
The prose is fluent, has a nice old fashioned feel, and shows none of the stress and strain of amateurish writing.
The setting is the 1920’s in an area on the edge
Kris Lugosi
Sep 08, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lugosi-s-reviews
I just wanna start off by saying I’ve been reading a lot of Lovecraft styled fiction lately. I love the Lovecraft world and even more so the newer generation’s voice given to a world created over 100 years ago by a man who could arguably be one of the greatest writers of the horror genre. Publishing houses like Myth Ink Books and Strangehouse have brought forth authors that carry on the tradition that is Lovecraft fiction and it is just as impressive as it is entertaining. I highly recommend eit ...more
C.T. Phipps
THE ELDER ICE is a short investigative novel which is either set in the Cthulhu Mythos of H.P. Lovecraft or somewhere very similar. It's very much like a Call of Cthulhu tabletop adventure with the premise of a solictor finding out about a man's possible occult encounters from his estate relics. In this case, I was genuinely surprised to find out it was set in the Cthulhu Mythos and kind of feel bad for bringing it up except I think it will encourage people who wouldn't read the novel normally t ...more
Ann Schwader
Aug 28, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
Disclaimer: I received a copy from the author in exchange for a fair review.

Did Ernest Shackleton visit the Mountains of Madness? That’s the premise (worked out in delicious detail) behind The Elder Ice, a Lovecraftian novella with a fast-moving blend of action, Weird Tales-style intrigue, & secret history.

When Harry Stubbs, a retired boxer turned collections agent, tries to recover a mysterious treasure from Shackleton’s Endurance expedition, he quickly finds himself out of his depth. Armed on
Ken B
Aug 23, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Bruiser Harry Stubbs is hired by a respectable law firm to collect debts and as an odd jobs man. Happy for the opportunity, all Harry wants is to someday become a clerk in the law firm and earn a lifestyle that a washed-up boxer could not normally expect.

Harry is given the task of hunting down anything of value left by polar explorer Ernest Shackleton in an attempt to settle some of the massive debts left by the adventurer after a series of apparently failed expeditions. But, that is just a bluf
Alex Sarll
Cthulhu Mythos antics set in Norwood, which is to say, my neighbourhood. Yes, I don’t have the appetite for Yog-Sothothery I once did (reading Derleth and Lumley will do that to a man), and yes, as soon as Shackleton had been mentioned and certain key words were used in a description of tardigrades, the broad lineaments of the plot were clear. And there’s a fairly baffling section wherein the narrator, former boxer and Shackleton fanboy Harry Stubbs, objects to the name ’Scott of the Antarctic’ ...more
Rebekah Teller
Jul 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
Debt collector Harry Stubbs has been assigned the case of the late explorer Ernest Shackleton, who left a lot of debts unpaid when he died. Harry is searching for any possible treasure the explorer might have hidden away somewhere that would help repay the debt.

He does manage to find a suspicious box and knows he's onto something when he gets attacked in an alley. Then the added mystery of tracking down his attackers and finding out what part they played in the hidden fortune becomes his priori
3.5 stars

My review and an extended sample of the audiobook are posted at

The author contacted me about reviewing this book. I haven’t read many books like this one, as I don’t read a lot historical stories, but I do love a good mystery, so I thought I would give this one a try. My understanding is that this has a Lovecraft aura to it. As I’ve never read Lovecraft, I can’t comment on it, but seems to be a common theme from others who’ve read this work. There is also the Cthulhu myt
S. D. Howarth
Jul 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
It is a short book, yet even so I zipped through it in a few sessions.

There is much to like as a reader. An interesting back story, a character layered like an onion, than a brick - clever in the pages available, and a hefty wink and nudge to Lovecraft. I especially enjoyed the main twist towards the end as it had been a elegant slow burner to that point.

The only downer was the end, which came a bit quick and highlighted the leanness and unfairly makes the reader gag for more WW1 Dresden files
Feb 08, 2019 rated it liked it
Pretty good for a self-published book I got for free on Reddit!

The pacing could use some work, but it was an enjoyable quick read. I'd recommend it to anyone who wants a short, lovecraftian story about a former boxer.
Damien Black
Dec 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Harry Stubbs, a Great War veteran and ex boxer-turned-investigator, finds himself embroiled in an increasingly gruesome case in this excellent novella, which taps Lovecraft and transposes the Cthulhu mythos to 1920s London. The prose is very well written and edited and reads like a crime/detective thriller laced with eldritch horror that becomes more apparent as the story progresses. The denouement is horrific and unexpected, the fight scenes tightly described, and the literary and historical re ...more
Jun 26, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The intro adventure of accidental, but intrepid investigator Harry Stubbs. He's an ex GI and Boxer, trying to become a law clerk, and drawn into the world of the supernatural. Really good character and the setting of 1925 London gives an excellent backdrop and solid atmosphere. Check it out. ...more
Kris Lugosi
I just wanna start off by saying I’ve been reading a lot of Lovecraft styled fiction lately. I love the Lovecraft world and even more so the newer generation’s voice given to a world created over 100 years ago by a man who could arguably be one of the greatest writers of the horror genre. Publishing houses like Myth Ink Books and Strangehouse have brought forth authors that carry on the tradition that is Lovecraft fiction and it is just as impressive as it is entertaining. I highly recommend eit ...more
Philip Hemplow
Jan 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Elder Ice is the most enjoyable Mythos story I've read in a long while, and I have no hesitation in recommending it. It's the first of David Hambling's stories that I've read, but I seriously doubt it will be the last.

It is narrated by Harry Stubbs: ex-military, an ex-boxer, working for a legal firm in interwar South London. Harry is a great protagonist, admirable despite his flaws, consistently characterised, sympathetic, and with just the right amount of depth for the story. He finds himse
This is a quite the fun read.

This reader came to the Harry Stubbs character backwards, having read Broken Meats first, so it was nice to learn a bit more about Stubbs backstory.

It is hard to get in to why The Elder Ice works so well without give away much. It is suffice to say that David Hambling does a very nice job with tying a real explorer with one of this reader's favorite fictional stories of exploration. The climax of the story is nicely done too.

The Elder Ice is well worth the read for
Mar 16, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Received free through Goodreads First Reads. A quote on the back claims this 'tale of mystery draws on HP Lovecraft's Cthulhu Mythos', but not having read any I can't say whether the influence is true or not. However, I did enjoy this novel.

A quick read - only 116 pages (and good size font), the prologue gets you interested straightaway. Characterization is strong, the writing is descriptive, with an underlying humour/dry wit from characters.

Would I read this again? Maybe not, but I would read
Andy Gillaspy
Mar 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Well written steampunk lovecraftian masterpiece based around the mountains of madness. The main character is refreshingly direct and adventurous . The slow build of ever stranger happenings leads to a satisfying finale . The only downside is the brevity of the story I can't wait for the next instalment broken meat. Thoroughly recommended to Mythos fans who should lap this novella up! ...more
Jul 22, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: podcast-reviews
Follow the link to listen to my podcast review:

The Daily PawnCast reviews: "The Elder Ice"

Aug 10, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book reads like a mix of Brian Lumley's The Burrowers Beneath and Lovecraft's At the Mountains of Madness, but it is very much its own. A very enjoyable read for Lovecraft fans. Highly stylised prose. Energetic writing that doesn't take itself too seriously.

Short and sweet. I can recommend this to any Cthulhu Mythos fan.
Matthew Davenport
The Elder Ice was great fun. The hero was believable and just plain fun. Harry Stubbs is someone I could easily see my self cheering for ringside or with Lovecraftian horrors in the room.
I especially loved the connections between Lovecraft's tales and historical myths. So much fun.
Sep 16, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
This is not the usual kind of book I would read but I am really glad I did. It was a quick read and I really wasn't sure where it was going until the end and the ending was great. ...more
Mark J Kettlewell
Apr 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
Good take on the Lovecraft genre

Good story. A little too short, but well written. Enjoyed the characterisation. I want to read more about Harry Stubbs.
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