Underland (Renquist Quartet)

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9780765303219: Underland (Renquist Quartet)

Victor Renquist, centuries-old master of a small colony of Nosferatu, has been "recruited"-forcibly-by an undercover branch of the National Security Agency, Paranormal Operations and Research. They need his help. It seems that certain members of Hitler's Third Reich escaped to a secret world below Antarctica, taking with them some very advanced technology. Human teams have failed to infiltrate the base, and Renquist is the NSA's last chance.

The team is small: Renquist; his right-hand man, Lupo; an extremely unorthodox hardline NSA operative named Jack Coulson; and Thyme Bridewell, a failed NSA brain-control experiment originally intended as Renquist's lunch. What they find in Underland taxes even Renquist's supernormal powers. The quondam Nazis have some very powerful allies -- the Dhrakuh, a race of sentient reptiles from the dawn of time. Their goal is nothing less than the conquest of the entire world.

To make matters worse, Renquist is hampered by some throwbacks from his own race and by the unexpected arrival of one of his own colony members, Julia, together with Philipa, a darklost whom Julia has led through the Change into Nosferatu.
The future of civilization hangs in the balance.

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Review:

In his X-Files-flavored novel Underland, ex-rock-musician Mick Farren boldly combines such pulp and tabloid favorites as vampires, the Hollow Earth, Cthulhu, UFOs, conspiracy theories, a modern-day Nazi colony, a serpent cult, and a prehuman race. Unfortunately, the novel turns out to be less than the sum of its parts, perhaps because it's the concluding volume of a series (the Renquist Quartet). Though Underland opens with a tense situation, the imminent torture of captured vampire leader Victor Renquist, the narrative turns immediately to backstory. Numerous bland stretches of flashback and description slow the pace so much that the Hollow Earth implied in the title goes unmentioned until nearly page 140. Series newcomers should be sure to start with the first volume, The Time of Feasting. --Cynthia Ward

About the Author:

Mick Farren was born in Cheltenham, England on a wet night at the end of World War II and he has been complaining about it ever since. His fiction received attention in the late punk seventies with The DNA Cowboys cult trilogy. Through the 1980s and 1990s, he tempered cyberpunk with his own post-Burroughs, post-Lovecraft strangeness, while, at the same time functioning as a columnist, critic, recording artist, teaching a science fiction and horror course at UCLA, publishing a number of non-fiction works on popular culture, including a best selling biography of Elvis Presley's manager, Colonel Tom Parker, and the bizarre-fashion history The Black Leather, and also providing Rock & Roll lyrics for bands like Metallica, Motorhead, Brother Wayne Kramer, and others. With Kramer, he created the off-Broadway musical The Last Words Of Dutch Schultz, and he has scripted a number of TV documentaries. He emerged into the 21st century with the critically acclaimed and suitably unorthodox vampire saga The Renquist Quartet, and the forthcoming alternate world epic Flame Of Evil.

Farren currently lives in Los Angeles. His most recent non-fiction is the autobiographic Give The Anarchist A Cigarette (Jonathan Cape, UK), his most recent novel is Underland (Tor Books US), and his current CDs are People Call You Crazy: The Mick Farren Story (Sanctuary UK) and The Deviants Dr Crow (Navarre US).

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