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    The Lesser Key of Solomon – (author: heh)

    “Inform, repleat, instruct, restore, correct, and refine me, that I may be made new in the understanding of thy Precepts, and in receiving the Sciences which are profitable for my Soul and Body, and for all faithful believers in the Name which is blessed forever, world without end.”

    Edited by Joseph H. Peterson this particular edition, arrived at through no small amount of research, consists of five books. Some versions of the Lesser Key of Solomon contain only the first book, the Goetia:

    Of the Arte Goetia (this is the book that scares everyone, and when anyone refers to The Lesser Key of Solomon they are undoubtedly referring to this book – command of the infernal)

    The Art Theurgia Goetia (command of both good and evil spirits for informational / mobility purposes)

    The Art Pauline of King Salomon (command of angels in relation to the planets / zodiac)

    Salomon’s Almadel Art (command of angels in relation to material goods / riches / fertility)

    Ars Notoria: The Notary Art of Salomon (arts of prayer relating to knowledge / memory)

    Solomon, the biblical King Solomon, is supposedly the originator of the contents though not the author. Hundreds of years ago that idea was popularly debunked, and it was decided the text is far more recent than Solomon. The book may have originated in the 1700s or the 1400s (or also, from King Solomon ~1000 B.C.)

    A quick story*: The beginning of Solomon’s powers came when his favored boy, possibly a student but more likely a lover, complained to Solomon that a demon was visiting him and slowly sucking his life force out through his thumb when he slept. Solomon watched the boy’s decline and eventually made an appeal to Heaven. The angel Michael appeared and gave Solomon a ring on which was engraved a symbol, later to be known as the Seal of Solomon. Michael instructed Solomon to wear the ring in the demon’s presence which would allow him to command the spirit.

    Solomon gave the ring to the boy. When next the demon visited, the boy hurled the ring at the demon and Solomon’s seal was imprinted on the spirit. Solomon commanded the beholden demon to take the ring and imprint his master Beelzebub, sometimes referred to as Satan himself but other times as an overlord of Hell answerable to Satan. Either way, the demon was forced to obey; Beelzebub was imprinted and was henceforth answerable to Solomon who in effect now controlled all the demons under Beelzebub through the demon king.
    *based on Testament of Solomon

    Lemegeton Clavicula Salominus, or The Lesser Key of Solomon, is exactly what you’ve heard. This is the blackest, darkest of the grimoires in existence, as its study potentially bears out. Not because what you will read is so depraved, disgusting or inhuman, but because the proper performance of the rituals within taps that kind of power–demonic power. This book is all about the calling up and dominating of spirits, the most frightening being the infernal, though angels will kill you just as quickly. Properly summoned and controlled the practitioner may have his wishes fulfilled.

    While it could be viewed as a kind of workbook, this is not an instruction manual. You cannot read step one, perform it, more to step two, perform and so on. Prior to performing any rituals a person would need to understand the work thoroughly and be familiar with and undaunted by constant flipping around referencing many parts at the same time. It would take a ton of painstaking preparation and is not something to try on a weekend with friends at the cabin.

    Containing many seals and sigils, signs and portents, most of the book is lists of demons and other spirits, the realms over which these spirits have power, their corresponding marks, and verbiage with which to interact throughout a summoning. There are many warnings to do everything slowly and properly, at the correct time of day depending on who is being summoned and why, and what to wear, what to eat, which substances to make what props out of, etc. What is not present is what to do upon a successful summoning gone awry–that’s for horror writers and the damned.

    Solomon’s Keys and other grimoires are important to our authors for at least a couple of reasons.

    First, some of us have read them and can tell when things are being faked or falsely attributed. We see a lot of this in the Urban Fantasy genre, and it is a little disgusting when some authors try and meld historical data such as these grimoires with their stories, ignoring everything that’s contained within the books they’re currently misusing. That’s sometimes the case but to shout out an author here, Tom Piccirilli, you know your stuff. It shows, and we appreciate it. With great stories come great responsibilities.

    Second, grimoires lend credence to an author’s voice. Not so much avoiding misuse of the works, but confidently speaking from a knowledgeable position lends that ring of truth to the words. We question less and can suspend disbelief much more easily when the author speaks confidently and with authority.

    This book is as dry as a textbook because it basically is a textbook. It’s not recommend at all unless you are an author looking for authenticity, a serious horror fan who wants to dive into some of the origins of the great tales, or a true believer looking to further your study. For the readers, those who take a look at books such as these are in for some surprises which shouldn’t be spoiled.

    One of four things can happen by reading and employing this work as it was meant:

    1. Nothing
    2. You learn things
    3. You are granted unlimited cosmic power
    4. You’re ripped to shreds and dragged off to Hell

    Because there is no Necronomicon, The Lesser Key of Solomon is, by far, referenced more than any other grimoire read about or seen in movies.

    Rating depends entirely on what you’re reading it for.

    2 stars

    *You may make fun of the beliefs surrounding the work, but you must recognize them for what they are: beliefs. Some people, somewhere along the line put stock in this, and anyone tempted to ridicule should first consider the modern, and proven, placebo effect. The human mind is not even close to understood and further complicating things, quantum mechanics reveals a surprising level of unpredictability in the physical building blocks of the universe. Judge not, lest ye be judged.






    Last edited by bugen; 08-09-2016, 07:40 AM.
    “Reality is a nice place to visit, but you wouldn’t want to live there.”
    -John Barth


      ShiftHugh Howey
      "It was supposed to be people who died and cultures that lasted. Now it was the other way around."

      Prequel to the best-selling Wool and containing a few of the same characters, in Shift Howey charges himself with reasoning how and why the world ended. Despite the majority of the action happening within the silos, Shift is a much different book than Wool.

      Shift begins on Earth much as we know it now, advanced beyond what we’re reported today, but probably not much advanced over what we’re not reported today. Medical science has taken to using miniature robots, nanos, for organ and tissue repair. And of course, if some humans are using them to repair, others are using them to tear down. Deployed on a massive scale you have the equivalent of world wide nuclear war. The surface is uninhabitable, setting the stage for Wool.

      As seems to be the case everywhere, atrocities on grand scales are always caused by madmen in power. Atrocities on smaller scales are caused by madmen in less power. If Wool was about war, then Shift is about politics and human psychology, both indivisible from war. Wool contains righteous anger, sometimes on both sides of the battle, whereas Shift contains sadness, with characters focusing on how hopeless our situation is and which drives the plot forward.

      Having read Shift it’s easy to get the feeling things may end differently than what may have been predicted after reading Wool. It might all turn out OK, but with the final book in the trilogy entitled Dust, turning out OK is not necessarily in the cards.

      Shift is an enjoyable read and a different beast than its predecessor despite the similar silo setting. We can hope for blue skies for the human race, but chances are diminishing.

      From the dedication: “To those who find themselves well and truly alone.”

      3(+) stars



      Last edited by bugen; 08-09-2016, 07:41 AM.
      “Reality is a nice place to visit, but you wouldn’t want to live there.”
      -John Barth


        Dear All Who Review:

        This is Sock Monkey's wallet. I am taking the time to write to all of you (and believe me, it takes time; billfolds have no arms, hands or fingers so typing is not the easiest thing to do for my kind) to ask you to please stop posting these awesome reviews. While I'm sure that my owner (though I prefer the term "Wallet Care Specialist", but I digress) and many others on the forum appreciate your well thought out and carefully constructed critiques on the books you read, it has led my owner to continue to add books to his want list. Now this might be fine for some other billfolds who could handle the added stress. I, on the other hand, have never been what one would call "flush" nor even "pleasantly plump". With all the books that my owner keeps wanting to purchase after reading your reviews, I am approaching Christian-Bale-in-The-Machinist-type levels. It's just not healthy. Now I understand that it's a free world, but whenever you' re about push that "Post" button, please just take a moment and think of me and all the other billfolds just like me...

        Sock Monkey's Wallet

        (All joking aside, I have been enjoying all the reviews posted on here and I think that this thread was a great idea. Thanks for taking the time to post them. Maybe if I can ever find the time myself, I'll post a couple.)


          Thanks Sock Monkey, and sorry about that! Marduk led me down the extremely expensive Abercrombie path, and RJ got me to read I'm Not Sam, which caused me to pick that up as well as a signed Peaceable Kingdom. Terry, a fellow J. Carroll fan, mentioned Land of Laughs, which I then read and was excellent and Centipede will do a version, the list goes on. When I'm forced into living in a public park I'll build a small lean-to with books.

          Thanks to the readers and those reviewing! It's one hell of a ride following these stories straight down into poverty.
          Last edited by bugen; 09-11-2014, 12:20 AM.
          “Reality is a nice place to visit, but you wouldn’t want to live there.”
          -John Barth


            MaplecroftCherie Priest

            “And if there are gods after all, perhaps we should not struggle so hard to get their attention, if this is the attention they would lavish upon us.”

            The Lizzie Borden murders shocked the world, and now we get the real scoop on what happened. Yes, madness was present, and yes, as we suspected Lizzie was involved, but the story is much deeper. It turns out, in fact, that Lizzie was in the process of saving the world from oceanic Lovecraftian monsters, wielding her axe as a warrior for good. Emma, her live-in sister and Owen, a neighboring doctor, assist in the fight. While a few other characters are involved the story remains tightly concentrated on the small group in the Borden household. A few attempts are made to reach out for help, but the story being so fantastic that no one would believe it mixed with the characters’ own doubts means our heroes are mostly on their own.

            In homage to Lovecraft, besides the horrific characteristics of the humanoid monsters, dread is also built on the unknown. The characters have no clear idea of what they’re up against and figuring it out involves questioning their own sanity. Since each monster was previously human the sisters’ sanity was pushed to the brink right at the outset, before the story even started, as we learn of the trauma Lizzie went through dispatching the very first of them–her parents.

            There are many aspects of this work to love, but perhaps the most surprising is the successful melding of Lovecraftian dread and breakneck pacing. The first 100 pages or so turn much like a normal, good book, but the next few hundred fly by in a rush of action and horror. It’s not an action movie hail of bullets and monsters but somehow the author makes it seem so for most of the book, which is a special contrast considering the building dread. One might have believed the two forces of building dread and action to be mutually exclusive.

            William Schafer of Subterranean Press has written an editorial on his site praising this work. This wasn’t self-promotion, as he’s apparently not working on any edition of the book, but rather an appreciation he wanted to share. Part of the editorial consisted of quotes and further praise from authors such as Chuck Wendig and Kealan Patrick Burke. This may already be more than enough to check out a writer whom you have yet to read, but in the e-book another name will be noticed in the first couple of pages: Joe R. Lansdale, the king of pacing himself, also loves the author’s work.

            This is good stuff, ladies and gentlemen, and it’s interesting how an author combines creeping dread with frenetic pacing.

            4 stars

            Last edited by bugen; 08-09-2016, 07:41 AM.
            “Reality is a nice place to visit, but you wouldn’t want to live there.”
            -John Barth



              Maplecroft sounds right up my alley. I've already put it on my wish list on Amazon. Just need to figure out when I can squeeze it into the budget... or hide it in a bigger order. "Honey, I had to buy something to qualify for the free shipping."


                "Honey, I had to buy something to qualify for the free shipping." - I've used that line myself several times. Only to get bitten back when the wife uses it on one of her orders...


                  Originally posted by Sock Monkey View Post
                  Maplecroft sounds right up my alley. I've already put it on my wish list on Amazon. Just need to figure out when I can squeeze it into the budget... or hide it in a bigger order. "Honey, I had to buy something to qualify for the free shipping."
                  Ha, I can't use that one with Amazon since we had Prime and get free shipping. Definitely worth us getting prime, we've saved more on shipping in the last couple months than the price of our Prime membership! We did have to have a certain amount to qualify for free shipping the couple times we've ordered jeans from Eddie Bauer over the last couple months though. The jeans from there last a long time, so shouldn't need new jeans for a few years now, lol


                    Deep Like The RiverTim Waggoner

                    “You can’t have her. You don’t deserve her.”

                    A short novella with a hell of a grip, the story takes place almost entirely on a canoe floating downstream as Alie and her sister Carin rush to preserve the life of a baby found alone on a sandbar upstream.

                    Told in an economic style, there’s little of the story that can be revealed without spoiling pivotal elements. It’s the one year anniversary of the birth of Alie’s deceased infant daughter, lost at just four months old, and her sister has planned this canoe trip to help distract Alie from the tragedy of the occasion. The baby is found in the first few pages and the entire plot revolves around the child’s well-being amongst the unprepared adults. And amongst the monsters.

                    I made the mistake of starting this without enough time to finish before duty called, and was enthralled in a way that made me quite late to work when I finally dragged myself away. It's an excellent story that seizes the reader early on and will not let up, and I recommend making sure you have the time to finish it in one sitting. It’s difficult to stop, and careens toward a marvelous and thoughtful ending.

                    4 stars




                    Last edited by bugen; 05-12-2016, 02:51 AM.
                    “Reality is a nice place to visit, but you wouldn’t want to live there.”
                    -John Barth



                      The Hellbound HeartClive Barker

                      “She knew he was telling the truth, the kind of unsavory truth that only monsters were at liberty to tell.”

                      I was speaking to a friend about the book yesterday, told him that this was where all the Hellraiser movies came from, and he naturally responded with, “Oh cool, so you get to see the origins of all of that… the creatures and stuff.” No, this isn’t an origin story of the Cenobites or of Pinhead, but it’s the first time we ever got to see these amazing, depraved creations. The hellish minions are driving the action in most of the novella, but aren’t present as much as you might think.

                      This story details the relationship between 4 people: Rory and his wayward wife Julie, Rory’s wild brother Frank, and Kirsty, and younger, plainer girl with a crush on the married Rory. Frank, harboring a wild streak a mile wide has spent his life seeking pleasure. Eventually he’s run out of or bored with anything that pleases him, is given the puzzle box as the path to ultimate ecstasy. When he’s finally able to open the box, the Cenobites arrive, treat him badly, and leave him for dead, somehow stuck in the walls of his Rory and Julie’s house. Julie learns of Frank’s presence in the walls, and her own wild emotions and wickedness rekindle her passion from their previous affair as she attempts to help the brother.

                      We don’t get to see why the Cenobites are the ultimate expression of pain and suffering, inflicting pain (or the highest levels of pleasure, as they see it) using methods and experiences far beyond anything a mortal could dream up. We barely get a glimpse of the type of power they wield, though it’s there. So is Pinhead, though he’s not quite the spokesman he becomes in the movies. From what I’ve seen actual origins are told most extensively in the movie Hellraiser 4, which everyone hates including the director, who went so far as to have his name removed from the film. I liked it, but origin or not, it’s not nearly as good as this book.

                      Written very early in Barker’s career, he had already developed the chops to deliver lines like the above quote, like “But despair had taught her the fine art of squeezing blood from stones”, like “There’s no such thing as almost”, and a sentence I never thought I’d read, “The Cenobite tittered.

                      The genesis of an expansive and important world, at least as far as we knew at the time, lies with The Hellbound Heart. This is a very highly recommended read if you’ve ever had an interest in Hellraiser, and a solid, brilliantly imaginative tale if you haven’t.

                      He has such sights to show us.

                      4(+) stars






                      Last edited by bugen; 05-12-2016, 02:53 AM.
                      “Reality is a nice place to visit, but you wouldn’t want to live there.”
                      -John Barth



                        Alice Walks-Michael Aronovitz

                        Like most readers, I love a good first couple of lines. I liken the reading of the first couple of lines of a book like being on a blind date. Sometimes it takes a while for you to warm up to your date, maybe the introduction was awkward, but you struggle through and at the end of the night you’re happy that you spent that time together and might get together again at some point. Other times, it’s an utter disaster and the date is cut short after the prerequisite first drink. Then there are the times when the gods above cast a ray of good fortune down on you and it’s love at first sight.

                        With Alice Walks, it was the latter of the three. Now, it isn’t my favorite first couple of lines of all time, that still belongs to Straub’s Ghost Story, but it does have a knockout one that might just land it in second place:

                        “Alice walks. She walks ‘cause she can’t breathe. She’s angry that you can.”

                        Yep, that’s like your blind date turning out to be supermodel with a doctorate. The fact that Aronovitz follows this line up with a novel that is funny, scary, melancholy, and truthful is like that same supermodel sitting down at your table and thinking you’re both funny and cute.

                        Alice Walks takes the form of the letter written from the main character, Mikey, to his son about the events that occurred when he was a teenager that has shaped his life and just might shape his son’s as well. One winter night, after sneaking out with his friends to the cemetery where his father works as a caretaker after being fired from his job as an English teacher at the high school, Mikey decides to liven things up by deciding to show his friends the body of Alice Arthur, whose body is being aired out in her mausoleum due to issues with the sealer caskets. It is there that after touching the dead girl’s hand, that Mikey awakens something. Something cold and angry.

                        Aronovitz deftly weaves an involving tale not just about ghosts and the dead, but also about a family falling apart, about the lies people tell each other and the cost of bad decisions that aren’t just paid by those that made the decisions but also paid by their loved ones. To say anymore would rob you of the joy of experiencing it yourself. Suffice to say that the world, the characters and the relationships created in those pages feels real, but more importantly, it all feels true. Not to mention that the prose is crisp, clean and just fun to read.

                        Now, that’s not to say that the book is perfect. There were a couple of moments where the scares didn’t quite hit the mark the way I think that Aronovitz wanted and the resolution seemed a little abrupt, but he sure does know how to end a book. Don't let these minor issues make you hesitate in reading this. My slight criticisms are probably only because my expectations were so high after reading his collection Seven Deadly Pleasures earlier this year. Aronovitz has quickly become one of my favorite authors. Do yourself a favor and pick up one of his books.

                        3 and ½ (out of four) stars


                          This is a great review, Sock Monkey. You've got me looking at both Alice Walks and Seven Deadly Pleasures. Thanks for posting!
                          “Reality is a nice place to visit, but you wouldn’t want to live there.”
                          -John Barth



                            Before They Are HangedJoe Abercrombie

                            “You had better stay out of sight for a couple of days.”
                            “Out of sight? I don’t plan to see outside of a whorehouse for a week.”
                            “Very wise.”

                            The second novel in the First Law trilogy, Before They Are Hanged follows mainly two groups of companions through their ordeals, along with the fascinating Sand dan Glokta, Superior of the Inquisition.

                            Bayaz, the 1st of the Magi, travels to the edge of the world with Logan Ninefingers, “The Bloody-Nine”, Ferro, Jezel, Longfoot, and other interesting companions in search of an object to help win the war.

                            Major (Colonel) West, is tasked with accompanying and protecting the arrogant and unprepared Crown Prince Ladisla in his first, disastrous command, eventually joined by “The Bloody Nine’s” former Northman companions from book 1, Dogman, Threetrees, Tul, Grim and Black-Dow.

                            Last but not least Glokta, the crippled Inquisitor, is tasked with the futile defense of a doomed city.

                            Mr. Abercrombie has his finger on the pulse of the dark side of today’s world, and it translates wonderfully into his creation spelled out in the world of The First Law. Immensely quotable, I count 32 gripping sentences and phrases pointed directly at the futility of our existence, our frailties, follies and absurdities, and our occasional triumphs.

                            A strengthening sense of companionship makes up much of these triumphs, and it’s sparing. Again, this is not a work looking toward a brighter future for mankind; it’s more focused on the present darkness. Occasional rays of light shine, but we mostly follow the characters through the mud and blood. Despite the mounting obstacles and pain for all involved, bonds were formed this time around, which is mostly in contrast to book 1 with the exception of the Northmen, who’ve long been brothers in battle.

                            I can hardly say enough about this author. I follow him on Twitter where occasionally he’s kind of an ass, but usually in a fun, intelligent and biting way. Two days back he tweeted, “I don’t like change. Or humans. Or parsnips.”

                            Yeah, we know, and we wouldn’t have it any other way. The projection of this attitude may be necessary in order to write like this. To speak the truth without shying from ugliness, to identify weakness without glossing it over, to unapologetically take us to task for destroying ourselves like we do. Utopia this is not - it’s Earth with the soft-filters removed.

                            “We do as we are told. We stand or fall beside those who were born near to us, who look as we do, who speak the same words, and all the while we know as little of the reasons why as does the dust we return to.”

                            4 stars






                            Last edited by bugen; 02-22-2016, 07:18 AM.
                            “Reality is a nice place to visit, but you wouldn’t want to live there.”
                            -John Barth




                              Traitor's Blade. Quite a good adventure.


                                This one isn't published yet (hence lack of link) but should be soon. "The Directive" by Matthew Quirk.

                                It’s been said that you can never go home again. Whether that’s true or not, you can carry remnants of home around with you – but depending upon the type of family that created you, those remnants could very well push you into dangerous or even life-threatening situations. Mike Ford, the hero of Matthew Quirk’s debut novel “The 500,” is back, and despite his best intentions the ghosts of his past reach out for him again.

                                Mike Ford’s family has a long history of criminal behavior, and in his younger years he followed in the not-so-honorable footsteps of his father and brother. Eventually he was given the military-or-jail option, and he chose the Navy. He followed that up with Harvard, became a lawyer, and did his best to distance himself from his past. He got engaged to Annie Clark, a smart young woman from a well-to-do family. Life was good, but in moments of honesty with himself he realized he sometimes missed the excitement of his earlier days.

                                Mike hasn’t spoken to his brother Jack in years, but he thinks it’s time to bury the hatchet and ask if Jack would be best man at his wedding. What he gets instead is one of those old remnants rearing its dangerous head.

                                Jack has also tried a straighter path, but with less success. He is one of those hard-luck-can’t-catch-a-break guys often in the wrong place at the wrong time and in need of saving. When Mike shows up, Jack seizes the opportunity to share his trouble.

                                In this case Jack is being menaced by someone known simply as Lynch. Lynch has a plan to steal “the directive” - secret federal financial information – which would enable him to become filthy rich overnight. The problem is, Jack screwed up the plan by scaring away the insider who was supposed to steal the information, and is now on the hook to effect a solution himself. He turns to Mike for help.

                                Lynch and his goons show up, with threats aplenty, but Mike is suspicious that he is somehow being duped. Jack is, if nothing else, a good con man, and Mike wouldn’t be surprised to find he has ulterior motives. Nevertheless, Jack is his brother, so he agrees to meet with the insider in an effort to bring him back on board.

                                During that meeting, however, the stakes are raised when Lynch shoots and kills the man and tells Mike that he now has to steal the directive, and there isn’t much time left. At any point Lynch could pin the murder on him, so he has no choice but to see this to the end, even if it may jeopardize his engagement.

                                Mike starts to wonder if this manipulation could be part of a personal vendetta aimed directly at him – but he doesn’t know Lynch. Could someone else be pulling Lynch’s strings? Maybe someone from his past he butted heads with as a lawyer? He just doesn’t know.

                                He comes up with a plan, but he knows that even if it succeeds, the likelihood of him being alive at the end of it is slim at best – but he might have a chance if he can also figure out a way to sabotage the plan and make it backfire on Lynch.

                                Mike will need to make good use of all his old skills, from lock-picking to social engineering, to be successful. He’ll get some help along the way from friends old and new – but who can he really trust? Potential betrayal lurks around every corner and behind every action.

                                “The Directive” is a high-speed edge-of-your-seat thriller with a pounding pulse that beats faster with every turn of the page. In Mike Ford, Matthew Quirk has created a likeable modern-day hero with some old-school sensibilities and talents sure to appeal to a broad range of adventure-loving readers.