But there was time for me to to delve into the secrets of my uncle's books, to read further into his notes. So much was clear - he had belief enough to have begun a search for sunken R'lyeh, the city or the kingdom - one could not be sure which it was, or whether indeed it ringed half the earth from the coast of Massachusetts in the Atlantic to the Polynesian Islands on the Pacific - to which Cthulhu had been banished, dead and yet not dead - 'Dead Cthulhu lies dreaming!' - biding his time to rise and rebel again, to strike once more for dominion against the rule of the Elder Gods...
See? Nary an "eldtritch" or "noisome" or "star-flung" to be found. The above passage is found in "The Seal of R'lyeh" from Mask; it is my favorite story here, with a deepening (or perversion, as Lovecraft experts may see it) of the Cthulhu mythos and some really strong, evocative, subtle writing. It is similar to "The Shadow over Innsmouth," but since that's such a wonderful story I don't mind. "The Return of Hastur" and "Something in the Wood" are standouts too, with everything we love about Lovecraft: lonely landscapes, ancient books, strange old locals with funny accents and terrifying tales. Trail is an entire novel by Derleth but I have not read it.
Original Arkham House editions, art by Richard Taylor
It's good to see these two works back in print together in Quest for Cthulhu (although boo on that Godzilla-esque cover art). My moldering copies were published by Beagle Books in the early 1970s and have that great old-bookstore smell that reminds me of staying up late on summer nights reading when I was 15. I wouldn't part with them for anything, not even my very own shoggoth. While I obviously prefer the original visions of Lovecraft himself, Derleth's stories are powerfully imagined, clearly told, and come recommended from this (almost) lifelong Lovecraft fan.