• The Burrowers Beneath

  • By: Brian Lumley
  • Narrated by: Simon Vance
  • Length: 6 hrs and 3 mins
  • 4.4 out of 5 stars (347 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

For millennia men have strutted their pride over the fragile surface of the Earth, arrogantly proclaiming themselves masters of creation. But now their feeble investigations have disturbed the planet's original rulers far beneath the globe's crust.

©1974 Brian Lumley (P)2016 David N. Wilson

What listeners say about The Burrowers Beneath

Average Customer Ratings
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    5 out of 5 stars
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My take on Mr Lumley's writings..

For sixty years, I have enjoyed books that were almost exclusively science fiction...hundreds of books and some few more than once. Ten, or so, years ago, I happened to purchase two of Brian's books and found them to be delightfully compelling.
I would say that few of that other not dissimilar genre have been as fun and detailed as these. I would love to thank him for the fun and interesting reads that he has provided!
The narration was beyond anything in my experience! Amazing!
I am currently rereading two other of his books and would very much enjoy hearing more of Mr Vance. Thank you for the opportunity to express my appreciation.
W Petersen

11 people found this helpful

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Awesome Idea, Slightly Disappointing Execution

First of all, Simon Vance! I could listen to that guy read the phone book. So good.

Now, Brian Lumley. He has amazingly cool ideas in the vein of modern, weird horror, and this book is no exception. In execution, he sometimes relies to much on telling rather than showing - robbing the reader of the chilling experience in favor of a kind of intellectual recap. Sadly, this book is no different. I enjoyed the book though. And to be fair, it is no more lacking in direct-experience than Lovecraft himself!

I don't want to share any plot details for fear of spoiling too much. But the basics are that you have an occult investigator/secret agent in your protagonist, Titus Crow, who uncovers a plot 'hatched' (you'll get that pun later) by Chtonians, an ancient and evil subterranean race.

8 people found this helpful

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Terrible.

Although the narrator does a decent job, the content of the book is absolute garbage. Any fan of Lovecraft's work knows that the root of fear is the unknown, or unknowable. This is the defining trait of the Cosmic Horror genre. This is where the author fails miserably. He explains so much about The Burrowers as to make them understandable, and thus, no longer frightening. This is very unfortunate in and of itself, but worse is that he subjects many of Lovecraft's iconic terrors to the same error as well. Combine that with the typical Sherlock Holmes style of trite banter and you've got The Burrowers Beneath.

You've been warned.

5 people found this helpful

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My Favorite Mythos Tome

The Burrowers Beneath was the book that hooked me on the Cthulhu Mythos all those years ago. Not only is it a terrific story, it’s a great introduction to all things Cthulhu.

The Burrowers Beneath is written to more modern tastes than the work of Lovecraft and his correspondents, and offers something seriously lacking in the canon: the heroes have a chance.

I wholly recommend the audiobook. Simon Vance does an expert job conveying the distinctions between the various characters in Lumley’s masterpiece.

3 people found this helpful

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Classic Lovecraftian tales updated!

Moments after starting it, I began to feel the gravitas of the story. Even more than a "names have been changed to protect the innocent" it felt to be a true conveyance of a hidden event.

Simon Vance brings a reality to it all with his narration. What a brilliant sustained performance, one that will set the standards of what quality work both Lumley and Vance have achieved together.

Thank you gentlemen!

3 people found this helpful

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The Burrower

I don't know why,but this book was not as good as it could have been.I liked the Letter reading ,to a point.We are supposed to be terrified of the Burrowers,but they don't seem that scarey.I liked it.Great narrator.

3 people found this helpful

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Meh.

Not for me, if you like Lovecraft but aren’t into the deep horror aspect and want a more light hearted non serious time it might be for you.
Beginning was awful between the narration and writing I just couldn’t get interested.
Received for free for an honest review.

2 people found this helpful

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Lumley Is An Insult To Eldritch Horror

Brian Lumley takes everything Lovecraft, Smith, and Chambers built and pisses upon it. He applied "good" and "evil" to the eldritch horrors. He took their cosmic mystery and turned them all into the equivalent of the Greek pantheon. And he safely locked away all the "evil" ones so that all of us can live in peace. He spits upon the founders of eldritch horror and deserves nothing from you.

The big three original eldritch horror writers created something new. The whole point of their works was to expose us to a cosmos, a mythos, far beyond our comprehension. They were so far beyond the realm of human understanding, the most we could do was ascribe motives and ideas to them that were never quite accurate.

Let me give you an example. Yog-Sothoth is so colossal in scale, we can barely comprehend it as an idea. It's mysterious because the only interaction we had with it was via proxy. We only ever learned second hand what Yog-Sothoth was. And what we learned was terrifying enough. But the idea that the machinations of the elder gods are comprehensible to us is absurd. The King in Yellow yearns to swallow every world into Carcosa. What happens when he does? How does he do it? How do the other elder gods feel about it? None of that matters. The answers to those questions are not for us tiny flecks of insignificant dust to consider. We'll never understand it and we can't understand it because the elder gods are not quite bound by the same laws of physics and time that we are. No amount of rationalization will ever be accurate. This was the key to their cosmic scale of horror.

What Brian Lumley does is take all the cosmic mythos... and turn it into a Greek pantheon. He made Cthluhu and Tsathoggua into half brothers. He turned King in Yellow into an avatar. He made Nodens a champion of humanity. Lumley gave the elder gods politics and drama. He stripped away all of their cosmic scales into a familiar trope.

If this wasn't enough, Lumley also stripped them all of their power. In this series of works, Lumley goes on to say that all the elder gods are either "good" or "evil". And all the "evil" ones have been locked safely away. LUMLEY APPLIED GOOD AND EVIL TO THE ELDRITCH GODS.

August Dereleth did a lot of damage to the Eldritch mythos. But at least Dereleth kept the genre alive after Lovecraft's death. He served a vital function, even if it came at a hefty price. But Lumley? Lumley straight ignores the work of the founders and has normalized the elder gods. His actions have led to so much misinformation among the public. Screw Brian Lumley and all he did.

2 people found this helpful

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Not as much of a story as you would think

Any additional comments?

I am a huge H.P. Lovecraft fan. As a good fan I thought I would give Brian Lumley's work a try. Over all it was very week story. I got the feeling that I was listening to a massive explanation and review of the Lovecraft mythology rather than a story. There is very little character development between the two key characters in the book. Over all I was very disappointed with the story.

If you are looking for a good review of the Lovecraft mythology then this is the book for you. If you are looking for a serious story that builds on the mythology of Lovecraft while being a stand alone story, this may not be the book for you.

2 people found this helpful

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A classic of Mythos fiction brought to your ears

If you could sum up The Burrowers Beneath in three words, what would they be?

The adventure is Pulpish, weird, and incredibly entertaining.

What did you like best about this story?

I was a big fan of the Call of Cthulhu RPG by Chaosium, which this very much feels like an extended campaign thereof.

Have you listened to any of Simon Vance’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

This is my first. I very much enjoyed it and the narration is top notch.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Simon Vance does an amazing job here by bringing to life Titus Crow, his companion Henri, and the various other characters involved in one of the greatest non-HPL Cthulhu Mythos stories. The Cthonians are one of the most terrifying monsters created for the world and are richly detailed by Lumley throughout.

Any additional comments?

Fans of H.P. Lovecraft will get the most out of this story but it functions entirely on its own for newcomers. It also lacks the more troubling aspects of Lovecraft's writings, providing a rich experience which all people can enjoy. This is a great audiobook and every listener who loves horror and adventure stories should give it a try.

2 people found this helpful

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  • susan crane
  • 06-30-16

PLENTY TO CROWE ABOUT!

This is by far the best book I have read in the entire Cthulhu Mythos canon - by Lovecraft or anyone else, and the superb narration by Simon Vance makes it all the more enthralling. The fact this is being typed as I listen for the third time bears testament to that, and the more I hear the more I want to read on.

Written very much in the Lovecraft vein, but thankfully with far less archaic purple prose or swooning male heroes, this thrilling cosmic horror novel was right up my street. Being the first in the Titus Crowe series, it is written in epistolary fashion, leading off with a series of exchanges between Titus and others, before continuing into Henri de-Marigny's notebooks. Marigny is very much the Watson to Crowe's Holmes (not surprisingly, Vance has also narrated several Sherlock Holmes books) and I found the story equally captivating.

The story regards the mysterious disappearance of a noted professor and his "weird writer"nephew following strange tremors which began after said professor unearths mysterious buried globes and brings them home. The globes are actually eggs, belonging to monstrous Cthonian monsters who, not surprisingly, are a bit upset and burrow their way to the surface doing nasty things to any humans they meet - such as removing a living brain and implanting it into a globulous "thing" which then visits Crowe and Henri before dissolving into yuk. Simon Vance deserves his fifth star for this scene alone, a masterly yet poignant performance.

As the first in a series, this book introduced people and organisations which will become regulars in future stories, and I'm already looking forward to book 2. One big query - the monsters are seemingly allergic to water, which doesn't explain why one of the most exciting passages (the attempted sinking of Henri's river boat by a Cthonian) almost succeeds, the monster blithely striking out for the open sea having menacingly attacked them with all tentacles seemingly oblivious to corrosion. Maybe this repulsion doesn't apply to "big poppa"Shudde M'Ell, the leader and the largest of the Burrowers who I'm assuming this was? I'll have to read again, as I'm pretty sure Lumley wouldn't have overlooked this in light of how tightly the rest of the book is written.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Stephen Arnott
  • 07-14-19

Decent Lovecraftian story

A good, if somewhat rambling, tale of Lovecraftian horror. There's no single story but a series of narratives that chronicle the Titus Crow's first encounters with the 'burrowers' (together with his friend Henri-Laurent de Marigny) and his later adventures allied with the New England 'Wilmarth Foundation'. I enjoyed it enough to get the second book in the series.

Fantastic narration by Simon Vance. Very impressive.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Napalmtheelf
  • 06-26-19

Loved it

While The Compleat Crow has some great moments, this one's the best in the whole Titus Crow series in my opinion. I've never got on with the Dreamland stuff, even by Lovecraft himself, so something grounded in our world is perfect. Written in the same manner as Call of Cthulhu makes it even better.

1 person found this helpful

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  • DarkSkies
  • 03-26-17

Great narration...awful writing.

If this book wasn’t for you, who do you think might enjoy it more?

The book seems to be written by a 12 year old. There is much better fan fic out there than this. Can't imagine anyone enjoying this drivel. The writer clearly has read Lovecraft but hasn't understood Lovecraft.

What was most disappointing about Brian Lumley’s story?

The terrible writing, ridiculous characters, poor story. Nothing good about it at all.

What about Simon Vance’s performance did you like?

Simon Vance is always great but even he couldn't save this one.

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from The Burrowers Beneath?

All of it. Spend six hours on anything other than this.

Any additional comments?

I finished this book out of morbid curiosity and so that you don't have to. Try a different book. Any book.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Brian
  • 10-06-16

An oldie but a goodie

I first read this book back in the 90s and was very happy to see it on Audible and read by Simon Vance who I really enjoy listening to.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Missgotty
  • 06-26-22

The Burrowers Beneath

I couldn't get into this book. I wasn't a fan of the narration style or the extensive letter writing between characters.

I was given this book for free of my own choosing and I voluntarily left this review.

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  • Steve Dillon (Things In The Well)
  • 11-28-21

wonderful intro. to Lumley, the Cthulhu Mythos etc

A wonderful intro. to Lumley, the Cthulhu Mythos etc. It is far superior to his Dreamlands series, and not so dated. A must for all Mythos fans!

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  • D. Woodhouse
  • 04-06-21

Lovecraft would be proud

Being familiar with the Necroscope series and a fan of H.P. Lovecraft this is my first experience of Lumley's work within the Cthulhu Mythos. This is an excellent novel which really embodies the essence of cosmic horror that Lovecraft developed.

Simon Vance's narration is clear and audible but his characterisations of the two main characters lacks depth in comparison to the side characters.

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  • MR J LAMBERT
  • 10-09-20

Brilliant Beginning to an Epic Series

The Burrowers Beneath is the fantastic opening chapter in the Titus Crow series. This story finds Crow and his companion Henri-Laurent de Marigny battling an ancient evil that has been lurking beneath the earth for centuries. The story is told via a series of letters, articles and diary entries.
Simon Vance provides a classy and compelling narration. Each character is clearly differentiated and his work on regional UK accents is superb.
Another absolute gem from the guys at Crossroad Press.
Highly recommended.

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  • J. Wexler
  • 09-18-20

Pretty good stories

The flow of the stories drags at times, but is a nice addition to the Cthulhu Mythos

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  • Clive Byerley
  • 04-03-19

Interesting concept- but...

An early work and the first in this series. The attempt at a ‘document ‘ based approach has led to clunky and distracting vocabulary that gets in the way of the story; I was waiting for an “he opined” so clumsily nineteenth century was the writing. Ends sudden instead of concluding so rally does not stand alone. A disappointment after Lumley’s wonderful vampire series.