“It is an aching thing to know that we are all so tiny, stumbling in a universe that is wider and darker than any Earth-bound sea.”
I’ve been reading books for 40 years, and I can honestly say that The Sea of Flesh and Ash is in my top five favorite books. It consists of two novellas by brothers Jeffrey Thomas and Scott Thomas. I want to emphasize that I greatly enjoyed both novellas, but The Sea of Ash by Scott Thomas especially moved me.
From the introduction to the book, by Scott:
“This book began with a painting, Travis Anthony Soumis’ Dreams are Dark. It’s the brooding and beautiful piece that now graces the cover. Sean Wallace, the mastermind behind Prime Books, was so taken with this work of art (and who could blame him?) that he wanted to use it as the cover for a book. He had an idea: Would Jeffrey and I each write a story inspired by Travis’ painting — two novellas under one cover? The answer, of course, was ‘yes’…”
The Sea of Ash is exquisite. It is haunting. It is beautiful. And yes, it’s Lovecraftian.
Let me quote a few lines from the novella:
“I had never felt so alone,” he wrote. “Never had the universe felt so vast, and I so small within it. I had, through circumstance, been made aware of something, but of what? Something either too horrible or too beautiful for humans to know.”
“How small I feel, stripped of the security of disbelief. It is an aching thing to know that we are all so tiny, stumbling in a universe that is wider and darker than any Earth-bound sea.”
“The days go dark so early now. The tree shadows reach to each other and merge and the moon comes up, as if released from some forgotten stone temple, as if born of an ash-colored sea.”
Here’s the book synopsis, from Amazon:
In The Sea of Flesh and Ash, brothers Jeffrey Thomas and Scott Thomas explore the haunted environs of their native New England – and alternate realms of existence – in two poetic and chilling short novels:
An elderly woman lies dying in her hospital bed, beset by terrifying nightmares. A young Vietnamese woman begins to experience strange visions in which she is transported to a fog-shrouded alien world. An American research scientist is stalked by a menacing figure he calls The Crooked Man. Their destinies will mesh both in and out of dream, with dangerous consequences, in Jeffrey Thomas’ eerie dark fantasy The Sea of Flesh.
A Victorian Englishman summons a strange puppet-like being to an old Colonial inn. A doctor returns from The Great War and discovers a mysterious naked woman at the edge of the Atlantic. A contemporary collector of arcane books retraces the steps of these other men – adventurers who sought out the mysteries of neighboring dimensions. Scott Thomas’ The Sea of Ash takes us along as three men from three different centuries experience the wonders and horrors of an unknown New England.
You can purchase the book here: The Sea of Flesh and Ash.