What is The Statement of Andrew Doran?
Dr. Andrew Doran has been out of touch with the major civilizations for quite a while. When an emissary from his Alma Mater demands his assistance, Andrew is in such a state that he has no choice but to help. The Nazis have taken the Necronomicon from Miskatonic University’s library. With it they could call upon every form of darkness and use the powers of the void to destroy all who stand in their way of unlimited power.
For years Doran has been at odds with Miskatonic University.
Putting his negative feelings aside, Andrew takes charge and heads straight into the Nazi-controlled territories of Europe. Along his journey from America and into the heart of Berlin, the dark Traum Kult, or Dream Cult, has sent beasts from the void between worlds to slow his progress.
This is adventure and monsters unlike anything the anthropologist has ever experienced, and only with the assistance of the trigger-happy Leo and the beautiful Olivia, both members of the French Resistance, does Dr. Doran have any chance of success. A sane man would flinch. Dr. Andrew Doran charges in.
THE STATEMENT OF ANDREW DORAN is a Indiana Jones versus H.P. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos novel with the titular character standing in for Doctor Jones. Andrew Doran is an adventurer archaeologist who was fired from Miskatonic University for suggesting they should maybe not openly share the supernatural books that have the power to destroy the world. Also, the fact he’s a smug git. Unfortunately, Andrew Doran is needed because the Nazis have stolen the Necronomicon and plan to use its power to win the war.
I’m no stranger to unconventional tellings of H.P. Lovecraft, being the author of post-apocalypse Western Cthulhu Armageddon, but I have to say this is one of my favorite. It by no means is an attempt to tell a traditional horror tale with the Cthulhu Mythos but instead replicate the classic Pulp stories of good versus evil. That means Andrew Doran is against both the Mythos’ many supernatural beasties as well as the Third Reich.
I do have some criticisms of this. The Cthulhu Mythos and its monsters are portrayed as monstrously corrupt entities versus alien ones and this is a missed opportunity. I, personally, would have loved to have seen the Mythos used against the Nazis rather than allied with them since they tend to represent the “Other” and it would have been fascinating seeing the two fight. No matter who wins, humanity loses.
The book is broken up into a series of vignettes which basically amount to issues of a Pulp magazine or their successors in the comic book. Andrew Doran goes to site A and encounters something nasty, deals with it, and gets gradually one step closer to Berlin where he can fight the Thule Society for ultimate power. He befriends a pair of French Resistance fighters in the process and even falls in love with one of them–an element which I was surprised by the end results of. It was the biggest twist in the novel and one I should have seen coming.
Andrew Doran, himself, is a two-fisted genius monster hunter who is thankfully flawed enough to be an interesting character. Andrew believes he’s the best (and perhaps only) person in the world who can stop the Cthulhu Mythos from destroying the world but his arrogance is off-putting as well as mistaken. He alienates his allies and we soon discover the only person who might be capable of loving him is himself.
My second favorite character in the novel, after Andrew himself, is the beautiful Olivia who makes a nice foil to him. Her romance with Andrew seems a little out of the blue and unbelievable at times but there’s reasons for that. I don’t know how the story will go on with her after the finale but picked up the sequel just to find out, so I think Mattew Davenport did a good job developing her.
There’s a lot of really entertaining moments and shout-outs for HPL fans. Andrew Doran going through the Miskatonic armory has him see numerous relics from the Mythos’ various “heroes”, he has a chance encounter with some Innsmouth refugees, and there’s also a cool scene where he flees into the Paris catacombs only to find it full of Nazi-eating undead. It’s hard to say what my favorite scene in the book is but, overall, it was always entertaining and never boring.
Can you do the Cthulhu Mythos without horror? This is definitely more closer to urban fantasy and adventure fiction. The only time I think that HP Lovecraft is closer to PG-13 rather than R, unless you count Ghostbusters as a Lovecraft movie (and I do). I don’t dislike it, though. Sometimes you want a guy with a magic cavalry saber carving up Nazis and shoggoths.
So, do I recommend this book? Basically, if you’re in the mood for a heroic genius bruiser like Doc Savage (but with the personality of Gregory House M.D.) then I think you’ll enjoy this book a great deal. It reminds me a bit of the Titus Crow novels by Brian Lumley, though doesn’t get anywhere near as silly. Matthew Davenport clearly knows his HPL and while his monsters are overtly evil than surreal, that’s clearly a deliberate artistic choice. I’ve already read the sequel, ANDREW DORAN AT THE MOUNTAINS OF MADNESS as well as the novellas in TALES OF AL-AZIF and TALES OF YOG-SOTHOTH.