The Conqueror Worms

The Conqueror Worms

One day the rain just didn't stop. As the flood waters slowly rose and coastal cities and towns disappeared, some people believed it was the end of the world. Maybe they were right. But the water wasn't the worst part. Even more terrifying was what the soaking rains drove up from beneath the earth — unimaginable creatures, writhing, burrowing ... and devouring all in their...

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Title:The Conqueror Worms
Author:Brian Keene
Rating:
Edition Language:English

The Conqueror Worms Reviews

  • Steve

    Satanists on surfboards. A mermaid. Giant worms and Cthulhu. And an End Time rain with two old mountain coots getting to play Beowulf. This is the good stuff.

    is the second book I've read by Brian Keene (

    being the first), and I'm really impressed by this guy. The sheer gusto of his B-movie imagination leaves me hopeful for the future of Horror fiction. In one sense, I'm left thinking Keene is very Old School (see Giant Bug movies from the 50s), but not totally.

    Satanists on surfboards. A mermaid. Giant worms and Cthulhu. And an End Time rain with two old mountain coots getting to play Beowulf. This is the good stuff.

    is the second book I've read by Brian Keene (

    being the first), and I'm really impressed by this guy. The sheer gusto of his B-movie imagination leaves me hopeful for the future of Horror fiction. In one sense, I'm left thinking Keene is very Old School (see Giant Bug movies from the 50s), but not totally.

    is very much a post 9-11 effort. Keene gives voice to the apocalyptic anxieties, whether it be terrorism or environmental collapse, that currently fill the air, and labels them Behemoth and Leviathan. Bible labels, to be sure, but you can see how Keene is constructing his own mythology, which I fully expect to show up in later novels - much like King's Dark Tower effort. Keene may not have any intention of knitting it all together, but is there a need to? Just hints here and there (much like Lovecraft) of the Labyrinth are more than enough to get the reader's dread going overtime.

    is basically two stories in one. The first, told by Teddy Garnett, an 80-something WW II vet, who lies wounded in his rain-soaked house, waiting for help or death. Garnett has to be Keene's best character yet. He is fully realized, his voice consistently strong throughout the novel. His likes (chewing tobacco) and dislikes (bad neighbor Earl), his memories of his beloved wife, Rose, his loneliness and anxiousness over the fate of his children and grandchildren, ratchet things up effectively. Garnett's voice never seemed cliched to me, and you're just simply going to like this guy - and his friend Carl Seaton. A bit less realized is the other tale teller, Kevin, a refugee from underwater Baltimore. His story is a wild one however, and any comparison with Teddy is probably unfair, since Teddy has lived a longer, fuller life. Eventually, these stories converge on a mountain in West Virginia. Time is short, but the characters, despite the hopelessness of it all, refreshingly hold on to their humanity, because in the End maybe that's all you will have as a comfort while the rain beats down and the worms continue to tunnel underneath.

  • Adam Light

    Thrilling apocaplyptic madness from Brian Keene. This book got me so wrapped in it that I breezed through it in two days. Now I'm looking for the sequel. If you enjoy end-of-the-world survival horror stories, you can't go wrong with this one.

  • Chris

    Nobody Apocalypses like Brian Keene. Or as often. Whether by zombies (The Rising, City of the Dead, Dead Sea), a dark zone that appears on the edge of town (Darkness on the Edge of Town), a loud horn-like sound after which a large percentage of the population just isn’t there any more (Take the Long Way Home), giant crabs and miscellaneous other deep sea creepy creatures (Clickers 2-4), or any combination of the above, he does it better than anyone.

    In the first Earthworm Gods book (there are 2)

    Nobody Apocalypses like Brian Keene. Or as often. Whether by zombies (The Rising, City of the Dead, Dead Sea), a dark zone that appears on the edge of town (Darkness on the Edge of Town), a loud horn-like sound after which a large percentage of the population just isn’t there any more (Take the Long Way Home), giant crabs and miscellaneous other deep sea creepy creatures (Clickers 2-4), or any combination of the above, he does it better than anyone.

    In the first Earthworm Gods book (there are 2) he does it with rain....rain and worms. At least to start. Lets just say if the land is bad, you don’t even want to hear about what is going on in the oceans.

    And unlike the typical horror story where some scientist or shaman or bulked up guy with a shot gun kicks the monster’s butt and sends it home to whatever dark crevice or dimensional worm hole it came from, the cavalry is most likely a day late and a dollar short if they arrive at all. Keene takes these stories all the way to end.

    The worms appear on the first page, folks, and the action just keeps steamrolling throughout the whole novel. Great characters if a bit (ok, a lot) stereotypical. You will care about them anyway. Naaaaasty creatures (the worms are just the beginning). Even nastier humans. Little hope of survival. Satanists on surf boards! I kid you not. Great fights, totally creepy scenes, huge doses of carnage and destruction, edge of your seat action.

    A great big bag full of awesome.

  • Kenneth McKinley

    I have nothing but the highest praise for Earthworm Gods. This story captured my imagination, as well as most of my waking hours the last two days, as I poured through this thing. Pardon the pun, but I was hooked. A little history from Brian Keene found in the Afterword of this story. If you're confused, like I was, about why there is a story called Earthworm Gods AND The Conquerer Worms. According to Keene, the story was originally published in hardcover in 2005 from Delirium Books as Earthworm

    I have nothing but the highest praise for Earthworm Gods. This story captured my imagination, as well as most of my waking hours the last two days, as I poured through this thing. Pardon the pun, but I was hooked. A little history from Brian Keene found in the Afterword of this story. If you're confused, like I was, about why there is a story called Earthworm Gods AND The Conquerer Worms. According to Keene, the story was originally published in hardcover in 2005 from Delirium Books as Earthworm Gods and quickly sold out. Dorchester was publishing Keene's paperbacks at the time and, for whatever reason, decided to change the name to The Conquerer Worms. So that's why there is all this confusion for when you're trying to buy this book. They are the one and the same folks and I think Keene has a voodoo doll that looks like the numb nuts at Dorchester that decided that this clusterf@#k of an idea was a good one and sticks pins in it daily. So now Deadite Press is making the Authors Preferred version of Earthworm Gods (with the correct name) and Keene endorses this whole-heartedly. And he should. This is just a wonderful story.

    Keene mines H.G. Wells War of the Worlds, H.P. Lovecraft's Cthulhu, his grandfather and his best friend as main characters and his own nicotine addiction to form the backbone of this tale. Such personal experiences make for realistic characters and a feeling of familiarity that permeates through the story. The tale is laid out in three parts. The first introduces us to Teddy and his friend Carl, who are in their eighties. They live on a rural mountain in West Virginia where it has rained non-stop for over a month. The world is now underwater and the only places left are the very highest peaks of the earth. No lights, electricity, communications, radio, tv, cell phones, etc. Just rain, rain and more rain. Their world is starting to wash away and an ominous white fuzz is beginning to grow on living things, deer, trees, etc. Worms start piling up on Teddy's carport and the ground is beginning to rumble as a fishy, ammonia odor is evident in the air and around large "sink holes" that begin appearing. Then all hell beaks loose.

    Part 2 takes us to the coast where another group of survivors are clinging to life in the top of a Baltimore skyscraper while the world is flooded around them. Attempting to survive, they try to keep away from a crazy group of "satanists" that are performing bizarre rituals on the top of a building off in the distance. Their rituals prove to be more than they appear and not only does Keene pull out his inner-Lovecraft, he also delves into his back catalog of The Rising and City of the Dead. Good stuff.

    Part 3 is a marriage of the characters from parts 1 and 2 and thrusts the reader in a rain-soaked climax. Words can't express how much I enjoyed this book. For the last two days, every free moment of mine was consumed by Earthworm Gods. Keene gets my highest praises for this one. I can't wait to jump into Earthworm Gods II. My Kindle app is downloading it as we speak.

    5 out of 5 stars

    You can also follow my reviews at the following links:

    TWITTER - @KenMcKinley5

  • Danger

    As far a pulp horror books go, this one is pretty much perfect. Weird and gory and tense and surprising and even (at times) emotional and funny. I loved it.

  • Jonathan Janz

    For Brian's fans (and you can count me squarely in that camp), be sure to read the afterword to this edition. In it Brian talks about this novel's importance not only to his mythos, but to the evolution of his craft. It's a quick piece, but it exemplifies many of the traits I value in Brian's writing: It's raw, it's real, it's emotional.

    As for the novel, it's the aforementioned things and more. I've read enough Keene books now that compiling a best-of list would be really difficult to do. I'm

    For Brian's fans (and you can count me squarely in that camp), be sure to read the afterword to this edition. In it Brian talks about this novel's importance not only to his mythos, but to the evolution of his craft. It's a quick piece, but it exemplifies many of the traits I value in Brian's writing: It's raw, it's real, it's emotional.

    As for the novel, it's the aforementioned things and more. I've read enough Keene books now that compiling a best-of list would be really difficult to do. I'm not sure where I'd place EARTHWORM GODS on my list of favorite Keene reads, but rest assured it'd be included somewhere in there.

    Perhaps the primary reason for this is the protagonist. Brian excels at deep characterization, and for that reason, we not only care about his characters, we come to know them and regard them as real people. That Brian's inspiration for this particular protagonist sprang from real life didn't surprise me; I feel as though I could drive out to the mountains, knock on a specific door, and hang out with Teddy for a while. I'd be sure to bring him a can of chewing tobacco.

    So read EARTHWORM GODS. It's inventive, scary, and it manages to be both grand and intimate, a balancing act few writers can achieve.

    Brian Keene can. And this novel is a splendid example of why he's regarded as one of the very best in the genre.

  • Bark

    Reading for Jare's

    I haven't read a book where the main protagonist is a crabby 80 year old guy since struggling through King's Insomnia many moons ago. Fortunately, this story is much more interesting. This guy is a lone survivor (or so it seems) in a world nearly buried under water. He has the misfortune to live high up on a secluded mountain when most others have perished in the floods and he faces long days of loneliness, isolation and day after

    Reading for Jare's

    I haven't read a book where the main protagonist is a crabby 80 year old guy since struggling through King's Insomnia many moons ago. Fortunately, this story is much more interesting. This guy is a lone survivor (or so it seems) in a world nearly buried under water. He has the misfortune to live high up on a secluded mountain when most others have perished in the floods and he faces long days of loneliness, isolation and day after day of rain. His only friend is a little robin who visits each morning and brightens up his otherwise gloomy existence. But then the giant earth worms explode on the scene and begin to wreak havoc. It sounds like a wild premise for a great B horror movie but the characterization makes it all real and surprisingly compelling.

    So far this is a very good apocalypse novel that moves at a crisp pace. The characters are nicely developed with only one annoying me with his heavy handed ghetto speak. The author doesn't throw everything in your face and leaves you and the characters in suspense wondering what awful thing is going to happen next.

  • Kirk

    This book was good, but the last 30-40 pages were particularly great. The tension just keeps building, and everything comes to a head in just the right way, at just the right time.

    If you’re a writer, the ending of Earthworm Gods should be a case study in horror for the denouement and conclusion alone. In that respect it is one of the highest watermarks in horror that I have read so far.

  • Ken

    This was my first Keene novel and aside from the title I wasn’t sure what to expect, but a story that features giant worms (and other large beings) was exactly the enjoyably thriller story that I’d hoped it would be.

    If other Keene novels are this much fun - then consider me sold!

    I was instantly hooked on the crappy 80 year old Teddy Garnett and loved the manner that he narrates the events of the apocalypse in a scatty but charming way.

    There’s enough short hand pop cultural references that he

    This was my first Keene novel and aside from the title I wasn’t sure what to expect, but a story that features giant worms (and other large beings) was exactly the enjoyably thriller story that I’d hoped it would be.

    If other Keene novels are this much fun - then consider me sold!

    I was instantly hooked on the crappy 80 year old Teddy Garnett and loved the manner that he narrates the events of the apocalypse in a scatty but charming way.

    There’s enough short hand pop cultural references that he would be aware of that gave his recounts a sense of realism.

    While the middle section is even more bizarre and epic as the events are told through a different narrator, the story isn’t any less thrilling.

    This 1950’s monster movie vibe set in a modern backdrop is highly recommended!

  • TK421

    I'm not one to normally read a Brian Keene novel (well, I have read three...I think), but when I saw the title of this one, and the fantastic campy-B-flick picture for a cover, I knew I had to read it. And, you know, it wasn't that bad. The first part of the book was a mid-post-apocalyptic tale that tells the story of how some of the characters are surviving. But Keene didn't think that a random monster book about the end of the world was enough. Enter the second half of the book. This half was

    I'm not one to normally read a Brian Keene novel (well, I have read three...I think), but when I saw the title of this one, and the fantastic campy-B-flick picture for a cover, I knew I had to read it. And, you know, it wasn't that bad. The first part of the book was a mid-post-apocalyptic tale that tells the story of how some of the characters are surviving. But Keene didn't think that a random monster book about the end of the world was enough. Enter the second half of the book. This half was straight from H.P. Lovecraft's playbook. There was definitely a Cthulhu mythos vibe permeating through the pages. Overall, not a bad book. If you have a few hours, and are open-minded, there are worse things that you could read.

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