In early 2011, a friend, Fiona G. Ment, and I came across an odd document in the apartment of cult weird fiction writer, Simon Peterkin, whose bizarre disappearance, in late 2010, I was investigating for the strange fiction journal, The Shambles. This document, a typescript, running to over 200 pages, was entitled, on the first, The Wanderer: A True Narrative.
The Wanderer recounts a weird tale: of cursed immortals, aeon-stalked by a being of demonic cruelty; of a dread, eldritch realm, which, at certain liminal sites, abuts this world – a place lurid, grotesque, seething with menace; of a future world, desolated and hostile. It is narrated by its protagonist, one of the blighted deathless, who records its events on an ancient typewriter, on rusting hulk – long before run aground or scuttled in the Thames Estuary – as the Earth slowly dies about him.
The full text of this typescript was published by Perfect Edge Books on the 29th August, 2014. There are more details and a link to order the book, here. Your local bookshop should also be able to order in a copy.
My foreword to the volume, in which I tell more about Peterkin’s vanishing, the circumstances under which The Wanderer was found, and the anxieties it has given rise to in me, can be read, here. There is a eldritch soundtrack, here.
A fiendishly wrought labyrinth of tales within tales, opening out from the most intimate horrors into aeons of desolation, wonderfully written and devilishly compelling.
Hal Duncan, author of Vellum and Ink
Achieves an uncanny and unsettling quality, trailing itself spookily across the tender membrane of the reader’s imagination.
Adam Roberts, author of Twenty Trillion Leagues Under the Sea and Jack Glass
Easily one of the best modern horror novels I have read in many, many years. Imagine M P Shiel and William Hope Hodgson channeled through Mark Samuels, with frequent scenes of quite nightmarish ghastly horror and cruelty that read like Reggie Oliver doing a novelisation of Cannibal Holocaust. Witty, clever, and utterly, deliciously horrific. I can’t begin to describe how impressed I was with this, and how much I enjoyed it. Just marvellous.
John Llewellyn Probert, author of The Nine Deaths of Dr. Valentine and The House that Death Built
A little like wandering through a library assembled by some insane devotee of fantastic atrocities and excesses.
Robert Maslen, editor of Mervyn Peake: Collected Poems
From a satanic Punch and Judy show staged in the catacombs beneath London, to a ruined city stalked by warring immortals at the ends of the Earth, and maybe even beyond, Timothy J. Jarvis’s debut novel draws together London horrors familiar and fresh, retold and reinvented, to thrilling effect. The Wanderer is a grimoire, filled with stories about stories, stories within stories, legends, folktales, histories and foretellings. It’s a book you’ll stay up all night reading – both to find out what happens next, and to forfend the nightmares it will surely inspire.
Neil D. A. Stewart, author of The Glasgow Coma Scale