The Hole of the Pit
The Lost Classic of Weird Fiction
At the height of the English Civil War, scholar Hubert Leyton, a man of peace who has so far avoided involvement in the conflict, is asked for help by the desperate people of Marsham. His cousin, the Earl of Deeping, having found himself on the losing side at the Battle of Naseby, has retreated with a villainous crew of soldiers and mercenaries to his island castle of Deeping Hold, and is demanding supplies the people of Marsham can’t provide. Agreeing to act as their spokesman, Leyton soon finds himself trapped in Deeping Hold with the doomed, unstable Earl, his scheming, sorcerous lover Fiammetta Bardi, and a family curse relating to a slime-filled pit in the sea nearby — and the Thing it contains.
First published in 1914, Adrian Ross’s novel recalls the work of William Hope Hodgson in its depiction of a stronghold under siege by a supernatural menace, as well as that of Ross’s friend, M R James (to whom he dedicated the novel), in its subtle accumulation of weird dread surrounding an adversary that defies the traditional forms of supernatural horror.
Evoking its historical period through the authentic style of its first person narrative, and the light use of Ross’s considerable historical scholarship, The Hole of the Pit is an unjustly forgotten novel from early 20th century weird fiction, and sure to delight readers of H P Lovecraft, Robert E Howard, Clark Ashton Smith, William Hope Hodgson and M R James.