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The Great Old Ones finally rising from their aeons-long slumber. The stars are right and all of the cosmos is feeling something evil in the wind. Though the Elder Gods defeated them a billion years ago, they have forgotten the secrets for doing so and are helpless with their current rising. Titus Crow is then given the impossible choice to mislead his friend Henri in hopes of using him as bait to lead the monstrous Cthulhu Cycle into a trap. This results in almost everyone finding themselves trapped on a cross-temporal journey through multiple realities as well as times.
Elysia ends the series with a bang rather than a whimper, having a catastrophic ending which nicely brings to close Lumley's saga of science-heroes and occultists versus godlike aliens. Unfortunately, the book is not without flaws as an entire section of it is taken up by recounting a story from his Fafhrd and Gray Mouser stand-ins versus the actual heroes. Still, we have a story which consists of visiting a sentient gas cloud, skimming a black hole, visiting a gigantic robot in the Dreamlands, dueling with a wanton airship pirate queen, and finally visiting an ancient Pre-Hyborian Age realm of wizard kings.
Lumley has an imagination he allows to run wild and it works well here with this being, along with Spawn of the Winds and The Burrowers Beneath, one of my three favorite Titus Crow stories. Lovecraft aficionados aren't going to find some last minute, "The Great Old Ones show up and kill everyone" but they're allowed more dignity here than they had in some of the volumes. Whole worlds are destroyed when the wrath of Cthulhu is unleashed and the final confrontation with him is epic in a Jack Kirby-meets-Doctor Who sort of way.
The book's ending actually moved me just a wee bit and gives the right sense of sacrifice as well as power for the defeat of the Great Old Ones. While Lovecraft purists will rail at the fact the Great Old Ones can be defeated at all, it isn't the case of Hawkgirl smacking Cthulhu around with her mace either. I felt this was a satisfactory wrap-up to all of the series mysteries and left me feeling like I'd spent my time well traveling with such an eccentric cast of oddballs.