Titus Crow

Last updated
Titus Crow
First appearance"Billy's Oak"
Last appearanceElysia
Created by Brian Lumley
In-universe information
Species Human
Gender Male
Occupation Occult Investigator
Psychic Sleuth
Birth2 December 1916 [1]

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. [2]

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.

In The Transition of Titus Crow Crow, fleeing from the Hounds of Tindalos, is almost totally destroyed when the Clock crashes. (Pt.4 -Fragments). He is slowly recreated from surviving cells & his memories stored in the Clock, as a cyborg over many decades, by a robot who theorized that robots were originally created by organic beings. As a cyborg he now has powers that can better deal with the monsters of the mythos.

He is described as a man who spends most of his money on commodities and keeps the rest of it in the bank. Crow owns several Cthulhu Mythos objects, including the Clock of Dreams. The Clock is a time-space machine in the form of a coffin-shaped clock. It was previously owned by Randolph Carter and by de Marigny's father, and is referred to as "de Marigny's clock" in many of the early short stories.


In an interview with Lumley, Robert M. Price suggests various possible models for Crow, including Miro Hetzel, Jack Vance's futuristic detective, Doctor Who, Mervyn Peake's Titus Groan, August Derleth's Dr. Laban Shrewsbury, William Hope Hodgson's Carnacki and Seabury Quinn's Jules de Grandin. Lumley doesn't acknowledge any of these as conscious inspirations, saying that Crow's time-clock (which derives from Lovecraft's "Through the Gates of the Silver Key") long predates Who; that he's never read Peake's Gormenghast and that the similarity of names is coincidental; and that he "was never too keen on" Derleth's Shrewsbury. He does admit, however, to having "always had a soft spot" for Bram Stoker's Abraham Van Helsing. [3]



Short stories

Collected in The Compleat Crow (1987 Hodder and Stoughton). ( ISBN   0-340-69544-7)

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">August Derleth</span> American writer

August William Derleth was an American writer and anthologist. Though best remembered as the first book publisher of the writings of H. P. Lovecraft, and for his own contributions to the Cthulhu Mythos and the cosmic horror genre, as well as his founding of the publisher Arkham House, Derleth was a leading American regional writer of his day, as well as prolific in several other genres, including historical fiction, poetry, detective fiction, science fiction, and biography.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Cthulhu Mythos</span> Shared fictional universe based on the work of H. P. Lovecraft

The Cthulhu Mythos is a mythopoeia and a shared fictional universe, originating in the works of American horror writer H. P. Lovecraft. The term was coined by August Derleth, a contemporary correspondent and protégé of Lovecraft, to identify the settings, tropes, and lore that were employed by Lovecraft and his literary successors. The name "Cthulhu" derives from the central creature in Lovecraft's seminal short story "The Call of Cthulhu", first published in the pulp magazine Weird Tales in 1928.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Cthulhu</span> Fictional cosmic entity

Cthulhu is a cosmic entity created by writer H. P. Lovecraft. It was first introduced in his short story "The Call of Cthulhu", published by the American pulp magazine Weird Tales in 1928. Considered a Great Old One within the pantheon of Lovecraftian cosmic entities, this creature has since been featured in numerous popular culture references. Lovecraft depicts it as a gigantic entity worshipped by cultists, in the shape of a green octopus, dragon, and a caricature of human form. The Lovecraft-inspired universe, the Cthulhu Mythos, where it exists with its fellow entities, is named after it.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Shub-Niggurath</span> Fictional deity in the Cthulhu Mythos

Shub-Niggurath is a deity created by H. P. Lovecraft. She is often associated with the phrase "The Black Goat of the Woods with a Thousand Young". The only other name by which Lovecraft referred to her was "Lord of the Wood" in his story The Whisperer in Darkness.

Arkham House is an American publishing house specializing in weird fiction. It was founded in Sauk City, Wisconsin, in 1939 by August Derleth and Donald Wandrei to publish hardcover collections of H. P. Lovecraft's best works, which had previously been published only in pulp magazines. The company's name is derived from Lovecraft's fictional New England city, Arkham, Massachusetts. Arkham House editions are noted for the quality of their printing and binding. The colophon for Arkham House was designed by Frank Utpatel.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Brian Lumley</span> English horror fiction writer

Brian Lumley is an English author of horror fiction. He came to prominence in the 1970s writing in the Cthulhu Mythos created by American writer H. P. Lovecraft but featuring the new character Titus Crow, and went on to greater fame in the 1980s with the best-selling Necroscope series, initially centered on character Harry Keogh, who can communicate with the spirits of the dead.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">The Festival (short story)</span> 1923 short story by H. P. Lovecraft

"The Festival" is a short story by H. P. Lovecraft written in October 1923 and published in the January 1925 issue of Weird Tales.

<i>The Trail of Cthulhu</i>

The Trail of Cthulhu is a series of interconnected short stories by American writer August Derleth as part of the Cthulhu Mythos genre of horror fiction. The stories chronicle the struggles of Laban Shrewsbury and his companions against the Great Old Ones, particularly Cthulhu.

<i>The Lurker at the Threshold</i> Novel by August Derleth and H. P. Lovecraft

The Lurker at the Threshold is a horror novel by American writer August Derleth, based on short fragments written by H. P. Lovecraft, who died in 1937, and published as a collaboration between the two authors. According to S. T. Joshi, of the novel's 50,000 words, 1,200 were written by Lovecraft.

"To Arkham and the Stars" is a short story by American writer Fritz Leiber, belonging to the Cthulhu Mythos genre of horror fiction. It was written for the 1966 Arkham House anthology The Dark Brotherhood and Other Pieces. Set in H. P. Lovecraft's Arkham and Miskatonic University, it includes characters from and allusions to several Lovecraft stories.

A Cthulhu Mythos anthology is a type of short story collection that contains stories written in, or related to, the Cthulhu Mythos genre of horror fiction launched by H. P. Lovecraft. Such anthologies have helped to define and popularize the genre.

<i>The Horror in the Museum and Other Revisions</i>

The Horror in the Museum and Other Revisions is a collection of stories revised or ghostwritten by American author H. P. Lovecraft. It was originally published in 1970 by Arkham House in an edition of 4,058 copies. The dustjacket of the first edition features art by Gahan Wilson.

<i>Dark Things</i>

Dark Things is an anthology of horror stories edited by American writer August Derleth. It was released in 1971 by Arkham House in an edition of 3,051 copies. It was Derleth's fourth anthology of previously unpublished stories released by Arkham House. A translation in Japanese has also been released.

<i>The Caller of the Black</i>

The Caller of the Black is a collection of stories by British writer Brian Lumley. It was released in 1971 and was the author's first collection of stories published by Arkham House. It was published in an edition of 3,606 copies. Many of the stories are of the Cthulhu Mythos.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Gary Myers (writer)</span> American writer of fantasy and horror (born 1952)

Gary Clayton Myers is an American writer of fantasy and horror. He is a resident of Fullerton, California.

<i>In Lovecrafts Shadow</i> Book by August Derleth

In Lovecraft's Shadow: The Cthulhu Mythos Stories of August Derleth is a collection of fantasy and horror short stories by American writer August Derleth. It was released in 1998 by Mycroft & Moran in an edition of 2,051 copies.

American author H. P. Lovecraft (1890–1937) created a number of fictional deities throughout the course of his literary career. These entities are usually depicted as immensely powerful and utterly indifferent to humans, who can barely begin to comprehend them; however, some entities are worshipped by humans. These deities include the "Great Old Ones" and extraterrestrials, such as the "Elder Things", with sporadic references to other miscellaneous deities. The "Elder Gods" are a later creation of other prolific writers who expanded on Lovecraft's concepts, such as August Derleth, who was credited with formalizing the Cthulhu Mythos. Most of these deities were Lovecraft's original creations, but he also adapted words or concepts from earlier writers such as Ambrose Bierce, and later writers in turn used Lovecraft's concepts and expanded his fictional universe.


  1. Lumley, Brian (2008). "Lord of the Worms". The Taint and other novellas (Reprint ed.). Nottingham: Solaris. p. 306. ISBN   978-1844166374.
  2. Brian Lumley, "Mail-Call of Cthulhu", Black Forbidden Things, p. 194.
  3. ["An Interview with Brian Lumley"], by Robert M. Price, Nightscapes No. 5.