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Drake, H B

Entry updated 8 May 2023. Tagged: Author.

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(1894-1963) UK teacher, Orientalist and author, in active service during World War One, who wrote occasional Fantasy tales involving the occult. His most successful novel was probably the non-genre Chinese White (1950) as Burgess Drake, set in China during World War Two; but he is primarily remembered today for his first novel The Remedy (1925; vt The Shadowy Thing 1928) because of its influence on H P Lovecraft. A young man with strong powers of Hypnosis inadvertently causes a fellow student to become possessed by an inhuman intelligence, leading to his insanity and death; the hypnotist proceeds to bring other people under his control, and finally, during World War One, escapes death by means of an Identity Transfer to the severely war-mutilated body of an acquaintance. The influence can be clearly seen in Lovecraft's "The Shadow out of Time" (June 1936 Astounding) and "The Thing on the Door-step" (January 1937 Weird Tales).

Other works of genre interest include Cursed Be the Treasure (1926), about a haunted pirate's treasure which protects itself from predators; The Captain of the "Jehovah" (1936), involving native Magic aboard a slave ship; The Book of Lyonne (1952) as Burgess Drake, a children's fantasy illustrated by Drake's long-time friend Mervyn Peake; Hush-a-by Baby (1952; vt Children of the Wind 1954) as Burgess Drake, about a woman haunted by the spirits of her miscarried twins; and The Woman and the Priest (1955) as Burgess Drake, concerning a struggle between forces of good and evil for spiritual dominance on a small French island. Drake also wrote the short Horror story "Yak Mool San" (1949 The London Mystery Magazine #1). He was the godfather of Peake's daughter. [LW]

Henry Burgess Drake

born 1894

died 1963

works (selected)


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