The Mysterious Hermit of the Tomb
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THE MYSTERIOUS HERMIT OF THE TOMB
by Etienne-Léon de Lamothe-Langon
adapted by Brian Stableford
cover by Mike Hoffman
People rarely approach him, and his hermitage appears to be guarded by beings of a superior essence. I have not attempted to approach a bizarre being who takes pleasure in surrounding himself with magic and mysteries…
In The Mysterious Hermit of the Tomb (1816), the evil Arembert consigns his father to a dark dungeon, and has his brother assassinated in order to get his hands on the vast family estate of Saint-Felix. Bur unbeknownst to him, his brother has survived and returns in the guise of a strange Hermit, intent on persecuting Arembert using all the tricks that the darkest phantasmagoria can provide.
The action takes place during the bloody Albigensian crusade of the 12th century. Lamothe-Langon attempts to blend Gothic horror fiction and chivalric romance, depicting the genocidal participants of the Albigensian crusade as if they were knights of medieval romance, and adding Gothic villains and castles replete with subterrains and garish hauntings into the mix. The resulting work does have a surreal charm that transcends the limits of the genres it tries to amalgamate.
The Mysterious Hermit boldly pioneers untrodden territory, exhibiting a bold defiance of literary conventions, and displaying an admirably zestful iconoclasm.
[L’ermite de la tombe mystérieuse, 1816]
Introduction and Notes by Brian Stableford.