Titus Crow is the main character in the eponymous series of horror fiction books by Brian Lumley
. The books are based on H.P. Lovecraft
's Cthulhu Mythos
In a departure from many Cthulhu Mythos stories, Lumley's characters are not helpless victims of unimaginable forces which can drive humans mad by merely manifesting themselves. Instead, Titus Crow, his friend Henri-Laurent de Marigny, and other Lumley characters confront Cthulhu's minions in a series of increasingly large-scale encounters, in which humans, although outmatched, try to fight back. In a letter to the journal Crypt of Cthulhu,
Lumley wrote: "I have trouble relating to people who faint at the hint of a bad smell. A meep or glibber doesn't cut it with me. (I love meeps and glibbers, don't get me wrong, but I go looking for what made them!) That's the main difference between my stories...and HPL's. My guys fight back. Also, they like to have a laugh along the way."
Crow has been known to survive any number of encounters with monsters, although he may not always be able to defeat the creatures. For instance, he may fall unconscious upon running into a monster that kills anything that moves.
He is described as a man who spends most of his money on commodities and keeps the rest of it in the bank. He owns different Cthulhu Mythos objects, including the Clock of Dreams, a coffin-shaped clock once owned by Randolph Carter,and de Marigny's father (which gives it an informal name of deMarigny's clock that is referred to this way through many of the early short stories), which is in fact a time-space machine.
Novels and collections by Brian Lumley
- The Burrowers Beneath (1974)
- The Transition of Titus Crow (1975)
- The Clock of Dreams (1978)
- Spawn of the Winds (1978)
- In the Moons of Borea (1979)
- The Compleat Crow (1987). Omnibus collection, which collected the various short stories featuring Crow.
- "An Item of Supporting Evidence" (1970)
- "Billy's Oak" (1970)
- "The Caller of the Black" (1971)
- "De Marigny's Clock" (1971)
- "The Mirror of Nitocris" (1971)
- "Darghud's Doll" (1977)
- "The Viking's Stone" (1977)
- "Name and Number" (1982)
- "The Black Recalled" (1983)
- "Lord of the Worms" (1983)
- Elysia (1989). Crossover with the Dreamlands and Primal Land, two other series by Lumley.
Not to be confused with the common object of the AVGN's wrath.
These books contain the following tropes:
- Always Chaotic Evil: The Horned Men.
- Big Bad: Cthulhu.
- More often, the reigning evil doer in the Titus Crow novels is Ithaqua.
- Big Good: Kthanid is pretty much the universe's guardian of nobility and justice, being a hyper-friendly Cthulhu. No, seriously.
- Black and White Morality: Like Derelith, Lumley's Great Old Ones are a great deal more human than Lovecraft intended. They're all malevolent jerkasses opposed by the saintly Elder Gods.
- Broke Your Arm Punching Out Cthulhu: The Wilmarth Foundation's fight takes a heavy toll. By the end of the first novel, Crow and De Marigny almost die when Crow's house is destroyed.
- Captain Ersatz: A lot of them, basically it's every Pulp Hero ever made teaming up against the Mythos.
- Titus Crow himself seems halfway between Abraham Van Helsing, Sherlock Holmes, and Doctor Who's Doctor. He even has a Tardis equivalent.
- Henri-Laurent de Marigny is later the Doctor himself, though he starts off as something equivalent to Watson.
- Decoy Protagonist: Titus Crow is actually something of an example of this as he is rapidly replaced by Henri-Lauren de Marigny.
- Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Averted in the short stories. Prior to the events of The Burrowers Beneath, Crow has no direct contact with the Mythos, save for human sorcerers or agents of the Great Old Ones.
- Friend to All Living Things: Henri's bride to be.
- Good Counterpart: Kthanid is essentially a good (?!) Cthulhu. Even more than that, he's actually Cthulhu's brother (?!?!?!).
- Green-Skinned Space Babe: A lot of them. One of them is the ultra hot wind sorceress daughter of a Great Old One (who ISN'T a deformed horror like Lovecraft would state such unions produce but quite the opposite).
- The 'girl goddess' Tianna is another example.
- Half-Human Hybrid: Very common. Unusually, the main ones are extremely attractive.
- The Hero: Titus Crow.
- La Résistance: Against Ithaqua.
- Lighter and Softer: Odd for a Brian Lumley work, but the humans are remarkably well off despite living in the Mythos-run universe.
- Lovecraft Lite: One of the big examples of this.
- Occult Detective: Titus Crow, being a scholar of the mystical arts.
- Psychic Powers: Almost all of the protagonists have this.
- Shout-Out: Natural for a Mythos work, Lumley includes references to other Mythos tales, including to fellow British Mythos author Ramsey Campbell.
- Sufficiently Advanced Aliens: By The Burrowers Beneath, Crow deduces that the Great Old Ones / Elder Gods are really advanced aliens, and their “magic” simply a higher science.
- The Watson: Henri-Laurent de Marigny serves as this to Titus Crow. He eventually becomes the lead protagonist.
- Weaksauce Weakness: The Chthonians are vulnerable to water.
- Who You Gonna Call?: The Wilmarth Foundation, a secret society devoted to the destruction of the Cthulhu Cycle.
- Would Not Hit a Girl: Henri-Laurent has a huge case of this.