What is Andrew Doran and the Scroll of Nightmares?
Andrew Doran—celebrated archaeologist and wisecracking warrior against enemies beyond human imagination—faces his greatest challenge, this time the fate of the world is at stake.
Doran’s colleague Nancy Dyer has located the Book of Eibon. Its vast power is a magnet for foes from all over the world. Miskatonic University soon finds itself besieged by dark forces whose victory would mean the end of Earth as we know it.
Join Doran and Dyer for another exhilarating adventure battling monsters with magic, machine guns, and Doran’s own brand of panache.
ANDREW DORAN AND THE SCROLL OF NIGHTMARES is yet another installment in the Indiana Jones expy series by Matthew Davenport. Andrew Doran is a scholar at Miskatonic University but where most of his kind are content to study the Mythos, he goes out and fights it. Unfortunately, this has caused him serious issues as he discovers that doing so on the university’s dime hasn’t increased his reputation. Indeed, he hasn’t brought a single book of eldritch lore or unspeakable sculpture of horrors back as far as anyone can tell!
The latest volume has Andrew Doran’s plucky sidekick and machine-gun toting blonde, Nancy Dyer, discover The Book of Eibon. As powerful an artifact as the Necronomicon, Andrew is determined to find a safe resting place for it but finds out that Miskatonic is not that location. It is soon under siege by a veritable host of horrors. Even worse, he’s got some uneasy allies in the Esoteric Cavalry. The EC is a department of the United States military devoted to monster hunting that doesn’t really see much difference between Andrew and the things he fights.
Andrew Doran isn’t a perfect substitute for Indiana Jones. He lacks some of the latter’s rough and tumble edges as well as exudes a kind of snobbish arrogance which frequently puts him in conflict with his own allies. Whether Miskatonic University’s own staff or the United States Army that has decided the former is no longer a reliable ally as World War 2 gets increasingly esoteric. Andrew’s realization no one is paying attention to his rants is one of the funnier bits of the novel.
I liked that we finally got some more insight into what the Nazis are actually up to with the Cthulhu Mythos. We also get some actual consequences for Andrew Doran’s arrogance. He believed he easily mopped up the SS’ occult division in previous books despite the fact its parent organization is still intact. It never occurs to him that they might just rebuild and are already laying plans to survive the end of the war.
I like the inclusion of the US government in the book since despite the book taking place in 1943, it sometimes feels like Andrew isn’t in the middle of World War 2. The United States has already suffered Pearl Harbor and our globe-trotting hero rarely acknowledges the larger politics at play.
This is very much a base under siege sort of episode with Miskatonic University deluged with zombies, monsters, and creatures of nightmare. It’s a good thing the US Army evacuated the place beforehand (or did they?). We also get a badly-needed check for Andrew Doran’s arrogance as he believed himself to be capable of defending all of the supernatural artifacts of Miskatonic as well as thumbing his nose at the Axis. No, unfortunately, our hero needs allies and he’s alienated most of the ones he might have had.
A usual, this is an action packed and intensely entertaining work that has a lot going for it. If you liked the previous Andrew Doran stories then you will almost certainly like this. For me, I not only have read all three novels but also the stories inside the Tales of the Al-Azif, Tales of Yog-Sothoth, and Book of Yig chronicles. I think this is probably my favorite of the books and represents a turning point to the character. I am interested where he’ll go when he finally offs Zombie Hitler, unlike Indiana Jones himself. Will Andrew Doran fight communists? McCarthy? The KKK? Who knows!